P. G. Wodehouse is known as a consummate stylist, and a lot is known about how he plotted and wrote his novels. Did he ever say anything about his writing in the first person? I'm particularly curious about how he wrote "as" Bertie Wooster, who has a very distinctive writing style that differs in some ways from Wodehouse's own.

Has he (or his biographers) written anything about how he developed Bertie's "voice" and then sustained it consistently across ten novels and over thirty short stories over 59 years?

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    I have no answer, and the following is not at all related to your question, but you may enjoy reading this interview, if you haven't already. Feb 28, 2017 at 9:32
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    Bertie put some things (his article for Milady's Boudoir, the swimming pool incident, a cat in an adage) into every story, or so it seems; perhaps that was done partly to anchor the ‘voice’. Dec 18, 2017 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


Wodehouse wrote in a letter to William Townend dated 6 March 1932,

(...) It's not all jam writing in the first person. The reader can know nothing except what Bertie tells him, and Bertie can know only a limited amount himself.

This letter is quoted in P.G. Wodehouse in His Own Words, edited by Barry Day (Abrams, 2012).

One of Wodehouse's early novels was Love Among the Chickens, first published in 1906 (almost a decade before his first Bertie Wooster story), and revised in 1921. According to the editor of Delphi Collected Works of P. G. Wodehouse,

In 1921 Wodehouse revised the book, rewriting the first five chapters so they were narrated in the first person and making some changes in the ending.

In spite of what he wrote to Townend in 1932, Laughing Gas, published in 1936, is told in the first person from the point of view of Reginald ("Reggie") Swithin, third Earl of Havershot.

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    And the short story Jeeves and the kid Clementina (from Very Good, Jeeves) is told in the first person by Jeeves himself
    – 今夜九
    Feb 17, 2021 at 5:45
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    @Joseph_Jaroslav Thanks. The short story "The Wire Pullers" is told in the first person from the point of view of a seventeen-year-old girl. (I did not intend to give a full list of Wodehouse stories told in the first person; I just wanted to mention it.)
    – Tsundoku
    Feb 17, 2021 at 10:25

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