The Man Upstairs

By P.G. Wodehouse

My father-in-law bought, or received, this copy of The Man Upstairs in 1939, and he has apparently read it to pieces. Early Wodehouse, and this is very early, ca. 1914, is far less exuberant than the product of his old age. This is apprentice-work, not quite mature, but full of promise.

  • Author: P.G. Wodehouse
  • Title: The Man Upstairs
  • Pages: 279
  • Published: 1935 (1914)
  • Publisher: Methuen & Co.

Most of these stories, perhaps all indeed, are about that old favourite, boy meets girl, like each other, hit a snag, and end up in each others arms. What distinguishes Wodehouse from other authors of his time, like Havank, for instance, is that he shows so much respect for what he almost invariable terms ‘the fair sex’. Where Havank shows us a pretty little ‘stenodactylo’ who might have a good, sharp mind, but who is still supposed to fall like a ton of logs for her superior officer, Wodehouse gives us a girl who is so angry at being shipped off to a village without cinema, that she decides to seduce all the men in the village. That’ll teach her father!

These stories are in general sweet, with only a little bite, and not uproariously funny, as later Wodehouse can be. Just slightly improbably slices of life written for mass-market magazines. Nowadays a bit date in subject matter, very dated in setting but not dated at all in language and writing.