An Interesting Juxtaposition

If you’ve never read any of the Jeeves series you really should. They are a great antidote to the real world. Wodehouse does a great job capturing and lampooning British upper class society between the wars. Bertie, along with his friends, is likeable, harmless, and completely useless. Jeeves manipulates him shamelessly but does so with Bertie’s best interests in mind rather than his own. There are no better books for a rainy afternoon or a day at the beach.

If you want an interesting, and somewhat depressing, juxtaposition, then read Wodehouse alongside of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Sebastian Flyte is the dark side of the British upper class twit exemplified by Bertie Wooster. Sebastian is a wealthy, frivolous young man who is slowly destroyed by alcohol and his obsession with his family. If you never thought you could feel sorry for someone who is young, handsome, and rich, then read about Sebastian.

I’ve read most of the Jeeves stories but have only read a couple of Waugh’s novels, something I intend to rectify in the near future. They aren’t the lighthearted romp that Wodehouse is, but can be very rewarding.

As a final note, there are great film versions of both the Jeeves series and Brideshead. The Brideshead version I’ve seen was made in 1981 and starred Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. The Jeeves series were made about ten years later and starred Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. There are other versions of both but you can’t go wrong with these.

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