It took Pelham Greville Wodehouse - or ‘Plum’ as he was nicknamed, ninety-three years to gain a knighthood. It was granted a few months before his death in 1975. It has taken another forty-three years for the Nation’s greatest comic writer to be finally acclaimed by the announcement that a memorial stone will be laid in Westminster Abbey.
The reason for the delay lies in the fact that he and his wife stayed too long in France when it was being overrun by the Germans in WW2 and he unwisely agreed on his internment to make some humorous broadcasts on German radio. After the end of the War, Wodehouse was persona non-grata in England, and remained in the United States where he had taken out American citizenship until his death.
He had huge affection for his old school, Dulwich College, basing his fictional school ‘Wrykyn’ on Dulwich where he had been a star pupil and sportsman.
In his Will, he left a number of personal items to the College including his desk, pipe and typewriter. These, together with copies of his almost 100 books are displayed in the school’s library. How fitting it would be if the memorial was laid during 2019, the 400th anniversary of his alma mater?
As an added tribute to his genius, the Wodehouse estate has given Ben Schott leave to write another tale of Jeeves, Wooster and Aunt Agatha. Entitled, Jeeves and the King of Clubs it is published by Hutchinson £16.99. Interestingly, it is Schott ‘s (of Miscellany fame) first novel.
Plum left a very useful piece of advice to such authors -
“It has been well said that an author who expects results from his first novel is in a position similar to a man who drops a rose petal down the Grand Canyon of Arizona and listens for an echo.” (Cocktail Time)
We shall see.