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The Mating Season

af P. G. Wodehouse

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Serier: Jeeves (8)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,403289,628 (4.24)49
Fans of P. G. Wodehouse's comic genius are legion, and their devotion to his masterful command of the hilarity borders on an obsession. "The Mating Season" is a time of love, mistaken identity, and mishap for Bertie, Gussie Fink-Nottle and other guests staying at Deverill Hall-luckily there's unflappable Jeeves to set things right.… (mere)

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Great story. ( )
  addunn3 | Mar 6, 2021 |
Oh, Wodehouse. Always delightful, ever reliable. In contrast to the short stories, whose prime focus is on wit and joie de vivre, the Jeeves and Wooster novels give the author a chance to showcase his tight plotting skills. The barrage of mistaken identities and double-crossing - which reached an apex in The Code of the Woosters - makes The Mating Season (the 5th of 11 novels) another blissful Bertie Wooster romp. Almost a contrast to the following novel, Ring for Jeeves, in which Wooster doesn't appear, this book gives Jeeves a very minor role, but he isn't missed among the outstanding supporting cast. Top marks particularly to any moments involving Madeleine Bassett, and to the uproarious provincial variety night.

The later novels, starting here, expose the "floating timeline" Wodehouse used in his works.
Published in 1949, after Wodehouse had been permanently exiled from the UK to the USA because of his wartime activities with the Germans, the author has his characters making reference to developments of the current era and speaking much more forthrightly than when the series premiered 30 years earlier. Yet in other ways, life for the characters hasn't changed much (and they're definitely not 30 years older). It's reminiscent of Hercule Poirot's unusual aging process, but with a kind of willful playfulness.

A gem of a book from one of my favourite frothy comedy series of all time. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Good Wodehouse.

> As I put hat on hat-peg and umbrella in umbrella-stand, I was thinking that if God wasn't in His heaven and all right with the world, these conditions prevailed as near as made no matter. Not the suspicion of an inkling, if you see what I mean, that round the corner lurked the bitter awakening, stuffed eelskin in hand, waiting to soak me on the occiput.

> This young prune is one of those lissom girls of medium height, constructed on the lines of Gertrude Lawrence, and her map had always been worth more than a passing glance. In repose, it has a sort of meditative expression, as if she were a pure white soul thinking beautiful thoughts, and, when animated, so dashed animated that it boosts the morale just to look at her. Her eyes are a kind of browny hazel and her hair rather along the same lines. The general effect is of an angel who eats lots of yeast. In fine, if you were called upon to pick something to be cast on a desert island with, Hedy Lamarr might be your first choice, but Corky Pirbright would inevitably come high up in the list of Hon. Mentions.

> I subjected Catsmeat to a keen glance. I am told by those who know that there are six varieties of hangover - the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer, and the Gremlin Boogie, and his manner suggested that he had got them all. "So you were lathered last night?" I said. "I was perhaps a mite polluted," he admitted.

> She took his head in both hands and shook it, causing him to shoot ceilingwards, this time with a cry so little stifled that it rang through the room like the death rattle of a hundred expiring hyenas.

> "So!" he said, and his voice was cold and hard, like a picnic egg … She drove off, Gussie standing gaping after her transfixed, like a goldfish staring at an ant's egg. … He had been standing with a rather morose expression on his face, like an elephant that has had its bun taken from it… At the outset he listened dumbly, his eyes bulging, his lips moving like those of a salmon in the spawning season… He must have noticed the tense, set expression on my face, rather like that of a starving wolf giving a Russian peasant the once-over

> I levered up a forkful of kipper and passed it absently over the larynx, endeavouring to adjust the faculties to a set-up which even the most intrepid would have had to admit was a honey.

> And as the days went by, these unsettled outlooks became more unsettled, those V-shaped depressions even V-er… No, the root of the trouble, the thing that was giving me dizzy spells and night sweats and making me look like the poor bit of human wreckage in the "before taking" pictures in the advertisements of Haddock's Headache Hokies, was the sinister behaviour of Gussie Fink-Nottle . Contemplating Gussie, I found my soul darkened by a nameless fear. I don't know if you have ever had your soul darkened, by a nameless fear. It's a most unpleasant feeling.

> As I walked, I was thinking hard and bitter thought; of Corky, the fons et origo, if you know what I mean by fons et origo, of all the trouble.

> I had almost permanently now a fluttering sensation at the pit of the stomach, as if I had recendy swallowed far more mice than I could have wished… The mice in my interior had how got up an informal dance and were buck-and-winging all over the place like a bunch of Nijinskys… The floor seemed to heave beneath me like a stage sea. The mice, which since that letter sequence and the subsequent chat with Corky had been taking a breather, sprang into renewed activity, as if starting teaming for some athletic sports.

> There are letters which sow doubts as to whether this bit here couldn't have been rather more neatly phrased and that bit there gingered up a trifle, and other letters of which you say to yourself "This is the goods. Don't alter a word". This was one of the latter letters.

> "No, Catsmeat, The code of the Woosters restrains me. The code of the Woosters is more rigid than the code of the Catsmeats. A Wooster cannot open a telegram addressed to another, even if for the moment he is that other, if you see what I mean. I'll have to submit them to Gussie." … The catch about the code of the Woosters is that if you start examining it with a couple of telegrams staring you in the face, one of them almost certainly containing news of vital import, you find yourself after a while beginning to wonder if it's really so hot, after all. I mean to say, the thought creeps in that maybe, if one did but know, the Woosters are priceless asses to let themselves be ruled by a code like that … Ask the first lion cub you meet, and it will tell you that, once you've tasted blood, there is no pulling up, and it's the same with opening telegrams… I could no more stop myself opening it than you can stop yourself eating another salted almond.

> Yes, that was the torpedo that exploded under my hows, and I had the feeling you get sometimes that some practical joker has suddenly removed all the bones from your legs, substituting for them an unsatisfactory jelly.

> It is a pretty well established fact that the heart bowed down with weight of woe to weakest hope will cling, and that's what mine did

> I found myself musing, as I have so often had occasion to do, on the callous way in which Nature refuses to chip in and do its bit when the human heart is in the soup. Though howling hurricanes and driving rainstorms would have been a more suitable accompaniment to the run of the action, the morning - or morn, if you prefer to string along with Aunt Charlotte - was bright and fair… Did Nature care? Not a hoot. The sky continued blue, and the fatheaded sun which I have mentioned shone smilingly throughout.

> The room in which I found myself was bright and cheerful, in which respect it differed substantially from Bertram Wooster.

> Presently, unable to stand the sight of him any longer, I turned away and began to pace the room like some caged creature of the wild, the only difference being that whereas a caged creature of the wild would not have bumped into and come within a toucher of upsetting a small table with a silver cup, a golf ball in a glass case and a large framed photograph on it, I did.

> My heart, ceasing to stand still, gave a leap and tried to get out through my front teeth.

> "I tell you, Jeeves, the spirits are low. I don't know if you have ever been tied hand and foot to a chair in front of a barrel of gunpowder with an inch of lighted candle on top of it?"

> It was loud in spots and less loud in other spots, and it had that quality which I have noticed in all violin solos, of seeming to last much longer than it actually did.

> I have spoken earlier of the tendency of the spirit of the Woosters to rise when crushed to earth, but there is a limit, and this limit had now been reached. At these frightful words, the spirit of the Woosters felt as if it had been sat on by an elephant. And not one of your streamlined, schoolgirl-figured elephants, either. A big, fat one.

> "I noticed, Jeeves, that when I started telling you the bad news just now, one of your eyebrows flickered." "Yes, sir. I was much exercised."

> "I am not sanguine. It would mean that Fate was handing out lucky breaks, and my experience of Fate-" I would have spoken further and probably been pretty deepish, for the subject of Fate and its consistent tendency to give good men the elbow was one to which I had devoted considerable thought…

> There come times in a man's life when he rather tends to think only of self, and I must confess that the anguish of the above tortured souls was almost completely thrust into the background of my consciousness by the reflection that Fate after a rocky start had at last done the square thing by Bertram Wooster. My mental attitude, in short, was about that of an African explorer who by prompt shinning up a tree has just contrived to elude a quick-tempered crocodile and gathers from a series of shrieks below that his faithful native bearer had not been so fortunate. I mean to say he mourns, no doubt, as he listens to the doings, but though his heart may bleed, he cannot help his primary emotion being one of sober relief that, however sticky life may have become for native bearers, he, personally, is sitting on top of the world.

> In dishing up this narrative for family consumption, it has been my constant aim throughout to get the right word in the right place and to avoid fobbing the customers off with something weak and inexpressive when they have a right to expect the telling phrase. It means a bit of extra work, but one has one's code. We will therefore expunge that "came" at the conclusion of the previous spasm and substitute for it "curvetted".

> Constable Dobbs's was not a face that lent itself readily to any great display of emotion. It looked as if it had been carved out of some hard kind of wood by a sculptor who had studied at a Correspondence School and had got to about Lesson Three. ( )
  breic | Jul 9, 2020 |
‘Still,’ I said, feeling that it was worth trying, ‘it’s part of the great web, what?’
‘Great web?’
‘One of Marcus Aurelius’s cracks. He said: “Does aught befall you? It is good. It is part of the destiny of the Universe ordained for you from the beginning. All that befalls you is part of the great web.”’
From the brusque manner in which he damned and blasted Marcus Aurelius, I gathered that, just as had happened when Jeeves sprang it on me, the gag had failed to bring balm. I hadn’t had much hope that it would. I doubt, as a matter of fact, if Marcus Aurelius’s material is ever the stuff to give the troops at a moment when they have just stubbed their toe on the brick of Fate. You want to wait till the agony has abated.

This was ridiculously good fun. I love Jeeves and Wooster series but some stories are better than others, and this was one of the best ones. Dare I say, it was on the same level as the one with Aunt Dahlia and the cow creamer? I like that one, too.

Anyway, in this one Bertie is trying to help a couple of his friends to untangle some obstacles in their love lives, and of course, just makes it worse. What stood out from the start in this one, however, is that Bertie is not just having to deal with one of his own aunts, but also no less than five aunts of one of his friends' betrothed...and five aunts is really more than anyone should be expected to deal with.

While there is slapstick galore in this story, we also get to see Bertie from new angles. For example, we learn that he - as many of us do - resorts to reading to calm his nerves:

"I have generally found on these occasions when the heart is heavy that the best thing to do is to curl up with a good goose-flesher and try to forget, and fortunately I had packed among my effects one called Murder At Greystone Grange. I started to turn its pages now, and found that I couldn’t have made a sounder move. It was one of those works in which Baronets are constantly being discovered dead in libraries and the heroine can’t turn in for a night without a Thing popping through a panel in the wall of her bedroom and starting to chuck its weight about, and it was not long before I was so soothed that I was able to switch off the light and fall into a refreshing sleep, which lasted, as my refreshing sleeps always do, till the coming of the morning cup of tea."
( )
1 stem BrokenTune | May 10, 2020 |
brilliant. wodehouse in the late thirties and early forties is at his sharpest, his funniest, his most lyrical. the bassett is one of my favorite literary creations, period. ( )
  charlyk | Nov 15, 2019 |
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Wodehouse, P. G.primær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Hitchens, ChristopherIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Klimowski, AndrzejOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Wielek-Berg, W.Oversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Willberg, Peter B.Omslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Fans of P. G. Wodehouse's comic genius are legion, and their devotion to his masterful command of the hilarity borders on an obsession. "The Mating Season" is a time of love, mistaken identity, and mishap for Bertie, Gussie Fink-Nottle and other guests staying at Deverill Hall-luckily there's unflappable Jeeves to set things right.

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