Mr. Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release
future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than
our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.
Wodehouse, Sir P.G.,
PELHAM GRENVILLE WODEHOUSE, (to friends - Plum) (b.
Oct. 15, 1881, Guildford, Surrey, SE Eng.--d. Feb. 14, (on St.
Valentine day), 1975, Southampton, N.Y., U.S.)
Wodehouse received his education at Dulwich College, where he was a
member of the school cricket team, (he would not lose interest in the
local cricket tournament until many years later!) Also he practised
boxing there. In this period he met gentry-folk which would serve as the
main characters of his many books later.
Then he worked for two years for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank,
(he got the place through his father's friends), bur he left to earn his
living as a journalist and storywriter.
He sent his stories to many papers and magazines;
At 21, (1902), he started in the 'By the Way' column in the old Globe. Also
he kept on sending his freelance stories and contributed a series
of school stories to a magazine for boys, the Captain, (in one of which
Psmith made his first appearance).
At the age of 28, not a long time before First World War, (1909), he
went to America, (that was his second visit; his first had been in 1904) where he continued to write short stories and also
critical reports for papers as theatrical critic. He made a serial for the
Saturday Evening Post, (and for the next twenty-five years almost all
his books make its first appearance in this magazine).
At that time Wodehouse met people close to musicals circles, and
wrote lyrics and took part in the creation of musical shows. At the same
time he did not abandon writing and wrote Psmith, Journalist (1912),
Piccadilly Jim (1918).
At the age of 33, (1914), he married.
During the next few years Plum travelled with his shows and chose as his
country of residence - France. (He lived alternately in the UK and the USA until 1934, when hestarted living in France.) 1930-1935 he lived near Cannes. (PGW rented a house near
Cannes in March 1932 but he settled in Le Touquet in 1934.)
In 1939 for services to the English language he received a doctor's degree from
In the beginning of World War Two he was pursued by the French
government during "spy hunts". And when Nazi troops occupied
France he was captured and interned in Germany.
After the war Plum continued to write books and took part not only in
creating lyrics for musical comedies but tried his hand as a producer, (with
differing degrees of luck).
In the early 1930s he was in the bad books of the Inland Revenue, (they
could sue him for £25,000).
In 1955 (at the age of 74) all his problems were over and he took
American citizenship and lived afterwards near New York
surrounded by his Pekes.
In 1975 he was knighted by the Queen of Great Britain, and died shortly afterwards
Life of P G Wodehouse.
Based on the exhibition at Guildford Museum, England, October 1999.
Written by Tony Ring, Editor, Wooster Sauce (the Journal of The P G Wodehouse Society (UK))
The P. G. Wodehouse Chronology
Bibliography of biographies and bibliographies