Essay Writer


Performing Flea

London: Herbert Jenkins, 1953

8vo, pp. 224. Original blue boards, lettered in gilt to spine, facsimile signature in gilt to front panel. Photographic dustwrapper. Offsetting to endpapers, spotting to top and leading edges of text block, boards just a little bowed. A better than very good copy in a very good dustwrapper, light edgewear, rear panel a little marked.

First edition, with an introduction and notes by Bill Townend, Wodehouse's old school friend, fellow novelist and lifelong correspondent.

This, Bring On The Girls and Over Seventy, were the three books in which Wodehouse came closest to autobiography, though 'unreliable memoir' is a more accurate description. Here, gloriously, amid all the chatter about school rugby and pekes, Wodehouse writes at length about the nuts and bolts of what he does and how he does it, about structure and plot and character and pace, about how much work goes into creating the Wodehouse illusion of effortlessness.

The book's title comes from a description of Wodehouse coined by Sean O'Casey in a bitter 1941 letter to the Daily Telegraph written shortly after Wodehouse's radio broadcasts from Berlin, exhorting Britain to 'forget forever the pitiful antics of English literature's performing flea.' Wodehouse knew a good title when he saw one.

Keywords: P.G. WODEHOUSE"

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