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Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Jeeves, Reginald. Reginald Jeeves was created by P.G. Wodehouse (Burdock Rose) and appeared in dozens of stories and fifteen novels and short story collections, beginning with “Extricating Young Gussie” (The Saturday Evening Post, Sept. 18, 1915).

Jeeves is the dignified, loyal, dry, intelligent, and extremely clever manservant to well-meaning, good-humored upper class ninny Bertie Wooster. On numerous occasions Wooster’s attempts to be clever or make money or simply wear the wrong style or color of cravat or cummerbund land him in trouble, either with the law or with his fearsome Aunt Agatha, and Jeeves is required to rescue Wooster and set things right.

* I'm including Jeeves in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster stories are charming, an enormous amount of fun, and surprisingly well-written. Like any good comedy writer, Wodehouse's choice of words was superb, his presentation of narrative voice (whether Bertie's or Jeeves') supremely assured and unerring, his characterizations flawless, and his knowledge of just how far to go and no farther with a story, joke, or characterization brilliant. The stories are tremendously charming, sublime comedy combined with a very attractive world-that-never-was (or that lasted only a decade or so and was available to only a few people) and very appealing (despite themselves) characters. To be in Wodehouse's hands is to be in the hands of a master. I'll single out just one thing of many: the reader always knows the general direction and result of a Jeeves-and-Wooster story. The reader is also always surprised at exactly how they get there. Wodehouse uses the same story structure repeatedly, but Jeeves' method of rescuing Bertie is always unforeseen. To ring endless story variations on a formally structured plot is a kind of genius, I think.

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