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He held rigid views on the art of the novel, and always maintained that an artist with a true reverence for his craft should not descend to goo-ey love stories, but should stick austerely to revolvers, cries in the night, missing papers, mysterious Chinamen, and dead bodies — with or without gash in throat.
This firm opinion belongs to mystery writer James Rodman, a cousin of Mr Mulliner. Pinckney , and her house begins to exert a sinister romantic influence over him. A veritable child of Faerie. James stared at the paper dumbly. He was utterly perplexed. He had not had the slightest intention of writing anything like this.
To begin with, it was a rule with him, and one which he never broke, to allow no girls to appear in his stories. Sinister landladies, yes, and naturally any amount of adventuresses with foreign accents, but never under any pretext what may be broadly described as girls. A detective story, he maintained, should have no heroine. Heroines only held up the action and tried to flirt with the hero when he should have been busy looking for clues, and then went and let the villain kidnap them by some childishly simple trick.
Wodehouse allowed plenty of girls in his stories, often as the central character. She was an extraordinarily pretty girl. Very sweet and fragile she looked as she stood there under the honeysuckle with the breeze ruffling a tendril of golden hair that strayed from beneath her coquettish little hat.
Her eyes were very big and very blue, her rose-tinted face becmingly flushed. All wasted on James though. He disliked all girls, and particularly the sweet, droopy type.
This sickly-sweet specimen of femininity is struck by a passing car and must be nursed back to health at Honeysuckle Cottage. James Rodman is made of stern stuff, but he is sorely tested. Now that the girl was well enough to leave her bed, she spent her time sitting in a chair on the sun-sprinkled porch, and James had to read to her — and poetry, at that; and not the jolly, wholesome sort of poetry the boys are turning out nowadays, either — good, honest stuff about sin and decaying corpses — but the old-fashioned kind with rhymes in it, dealing almost exclusively with love.
One of the curses of being female is the assumption, made by almost everyone, that we are inherently wired to enjoy romance novels and what passes for romantic comedy at the movies. Weak female characters, in need of a decent meal and a shot of gumption abound. Heroines are painfully self conscious or smugly self-reliant, always beautiful, with a tendency to take themselves far too seriously.
Happily, Wodehouse offers us a third way — where the romance can coexist with intelligence and humour. When we get weary of the V Day stuff which engulfs us at this time of the year, it is useful to remember that there are effective anti-dotes available. Thank you for coming up with this one! I owe my rediscovery of it to George Simmers, who mentioned it a few weeks ago. I recalled the outline, but had forgotten, as my teeny brain is apt to do, how fine it is!
Have you read the Regency romances of Georgette Heyer? She was writing in the same period as Wodehouse and is often witty in a similar vein. I read my first Heyer last year actually. I liked it, although I am not a huge fan of the genre, and definitely need to read another one. I dislike the genre as a whole, myself, but make an exception for Heyer because she writes so well and is historically accurate. They had a rather nice paperback edition, a few years ago, with details from period paintings on the cover and a good, clear font.
Reblogged this on Plumtopia and commented:. Reblogged this on ashokbhatia and commented: Wodehouse has created a wide array of feminine characters. Some may be plain dumb. Some may be highly intelligent, aiming to elevate the intellectual leanings of their prospective mates.
Others specialize in financial dealings. Some others are good at stealing. Quite a few have strong entrepreneurial instincts. Then we have sports enthusiasts and fitness freaks. Here is a delectable post which concludes, and rightly so, that in his characters, romance can coexist with intelligence and humour.
Wodehouse has many women in his stories and novels of varying stripe. Many are imposing, no-frills anti-sentimentalists. Many of the female leads in the later farces retain this seriousness Summer Moonshine, Quick Service. Yes — quite so.
I love them all. They do reflect a more diverse range of characters than Wodehouse tends to be given credit for. Pingback: Happy P. Wodehouse Day! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
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Skip to content. The situation at Honeysuckle Cottage deteriorates further when a girl arrives: She was an extraordinarily pretty girl. HP Rate this:. Share this: Twitter Facebook Email. Like this: Like Loading Previous Fondly remembering Plum. February 17, at pm Reply. March 5, at am Reply. March 5, at pm Reply. February 9, at am. Another interesting post. I really am spending far too much time on this site …. March 10, at pm Reply. March 11, at am Reply.
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FORGOTTEN SHORT STORIES #1: “Honeysuckle Cottage” By P. G. Wodehouse
He held rigid views on the art of the novel, and always maintained that an artist with a true reverence for his craft should not descend to goo-ey love stories, but should stick austerely to revolvers, cries in the night, missing papers, mysterious Chinamen, and dead bodies — with or without gash in throat. This firm opinion belongs to mystery writer James Rodman, a cousin of Mr Mulliner. Pinckney , and her house begins to exert a sinister romantic influence over him. A veritable child of Faerie. James stared at the paper dumbly. He was utterly perplexed.
Classic read: Honeysuckle Cottage by PG Wodehouse
Watch fullscreen. Wodehouse Radio - Meet Mr. Episode 1. Honeysuckle Cottage.
Wodehouse subsequently added a framing device in which the story is told by the character of Mr. It is this version which appears in the short story collection Meet Mr. Mulliner , and subsequent Wodehouse collections. Considered by Wodehouse himself to be one of his funniest stories,  the story has been viewed as a homage to the writer Henry James.