Monday, January 09, 2006

More Than You Wanted to Know About P.G. Wodehouse

I just found Biblia Wodehouseiana, a site that identifies Biblical quotations in the work of P.G. Wodehouse. The site was created (so the introduction claims) by a Benedictine Monk.

When he needed to make a literary allusion, Wodehouse, who wasn't a particularly enthusiastic reader (he spent most of his time writing, not reading), tended to draw on works he'd studied as a boy in public-school, which meant many quotations from the kinds of poems boys were forced to memorize -- Tennyson, Browning, Shakespeare -- and lots of Biblical quotations. Though the quotations would of course often be filtered through the unreliable memory of Bertie Wooster or some similar character.

I think my favorite Wodehouse quasi-biblical reference is: "The Lesson was one of those chapters of the Old Testament all about how Abimelech begat Jazzbo and Jazzbo begat Zachariah."

Runner-up, in the story "Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend," when Lord Emsworth is besieged by young children: "There was only one man who could have coped adequately with the situation and that was King Herod, who - regrettably - was not among those present." Because the only thing in Wodehouse more consistent than his love of Bible references is his hatred of most young children -- but that's a topic for another post.

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