To Evelyn Waugh he was simply “the Master.” He wrote ninety novels and story collections, and among his immortal characters are Jeeves, Psmith, and the Empress of Blandings (who is, of course, a pig). Equally impressive is the range of his devotees: Dorothy Parker, John Updike, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Salman Rushdie, John le Carré, and Seamus Heaney. Wodehouse had an extraordinary Broadway career, working with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and even dared to rewrite Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” for the London stage.
Robert McCrum’s magisterial biography chronicles the achievements and shadows of a gilded life. The ill-judged broadcasts from Berlin, where Wodehouse was interned during World War II, produced a violent backlash in England and tarred him, unfairly, as a Nazi sympathizer. His long love affair with America was compromised by endless acrimony with the IRS. This is the book all Wodehouse fans have been waiting for; it eclipses all previous accounts of his life.