Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From Verbum ipsum via First Things
God and Bertie Wooster
Suppose . . . oh, I don’t know, suppose that it was 1919, and the First World War had just finished cracking [Catholic] Europe across its knee like a stick, and you were living in what the poet T.S. Eliot in one of his occasional sour moods called the Waste Land, and words were all you had...

‘You would not like Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.’

And write he
[P.G. Wodehouse] did, making so much money — from his books, scripts for Hollywood and Broadway, and articles in magazines such as Vanity Fair — that the American tax authorities and the British Inland Revenue united in one of their first joint projects, a trans-Atlantic cooperative effort to dig as much as possible out of Wodehouse’s international royalties. That may have been what finally drove him abroad in 1934, when he and Ethel settled in France.

If Bertie Wooster had ever really existed, he would (as George Orwell once pointed out) have died at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 along with most of the rest of his Edwardian class.

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