The Code of the Woosters

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The Code of the Woosters
CodeOfTheWoosters.jpg
First US edition
Author P. G. Wodehouse
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Jeeves
Genre Humour
Publisher Herbert Jenkins, Doubleday, Doran
Publication date
7 October 1938
Media type Print ()
Pages 224
ISBN n/a
OCLC 59362846
Preceded by Right Ho, Jeeves
Followed by Joy in the Morning

The Code of the Woosters is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, first published on 7 October 1938, in the United Kingdom by Herbert Jenkins, London, and in the United States by Doubleday, Doran, New York.[1] It was serialised in The Saturday Evening Post (US) from 16 July to 3 September 1938 and in the London Daily Mail from 14 September to 6 October 1938.

The Code of the Woosters is the third full-length novel to feature two of Wodehouse's best-known creations, Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves.

Story[edit]

The Code of the Woosters is the first installment in the Totleigh Towers saga. It introduces the characters of Sir Watkyn Bassett, the owner of Totleigh Towers, and Roderick Spode, later known as Lord Sidcup after his accession to an earldom.

The story opens with Bertie recovering from a bachelor party he has thrown the night before for Gussie Fink-Nottle, his fish-faced, newt-fancying friend. While still convalescing, he is summoned before his beloved Aunt Dahlia and ordered by her to go to a particular antique shop and "sneer at a cow creamer". This is an effort to sap the confidence of the shop's owner and thus drive down the piece's price before it is purchased by Dahlia's collector husband Tom Travers. While in the shop, Bertie has his first run-in with Sir Watkyn (another collector of silver pieces) and Spode (whose aunt Sir Watkyn is planning to marry). Bertie escapes this ordeal relatively unscathed, but later learns that, via underhanded skulduggery involving lobsters and cold cucumbers, Sir Watkyn has obtained possession of the creamer ahead of Uncle Tom and spirited it away to Totleigh Towers. Bertie was already headed there in a frantic attempt to patch over the sudden rupture in the engagement of Gussie and Madeline Bassett, Sir Watkyn's droopy and oversentimental daughter, but now he has been assigned an additional impossible task by Aunt Dahlia: recovery of the cow creamer, which is being guarded both by Spode and the local police. His situation is complicated further by the presence at Totleigh Towers of Stiffy Byng, Sir Watkyn's anarchic young ward, who draws Bertie into her plan to marry the local curate, another old pal of Bertie's named "Stinker" Pinker, and a certain leather-covered notebook of Gussie's, in which he has lovingly and extensively detailed Sir Watkyn and Spode's many character failings, and which has escaped Gussie's possession to roam freely about the local community.

Jeeves's intellect is strained to the utmost, but in the end, the two couples are still engaged to be married, the cow creamer is headed back towards the hands of its rightful owner, and Bertie has not been beaten to a pulp by Spode, thrown in jail for stealing a policeman's helmet, roped into marriage with either Madeline or Stiffy, or cut off from partaking in the cooking of the famed Anatole. In gratitude, he agrees to take the Round-The-World cruise Jeeves has been promoting, thinking that at absolute worst, he won't be seeing Stiffy Byng.

The actual code of the Woosters is "Never let a pal down."

Adaptations[edit]

Code of the Woosters was adapted to radio as part of the series What Ho! Jeeves starring Richard Briers as Bertie and Michael Hordern as Jeeves.

Much of the plot was adapted to form the first two episodes of the second series of the ITV series Jeeves and Wooster.

On 9 April 2006, BBC Radio 4 broadcast The Code of the Woosters as its Classic Serial. Andrew Sachs appeared as Jeeves and Marcus Brigstocke as Bertie Wooster.

Perfect Nonsense, based on The Code of the Woosters, and the first ever play featuring Jeeves and Wooster, was first performed on 10 October 2013 at Richmond Theatre, moving to the West End later that month, where its run at the Duke of York's Theatre, London, has been extended to September 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ McIlvaine, E., Sherby, L.S. and Heineman, J.H. (1990) P.G. Wodehouse: A comprehensive bibliography and checklist. New York: James H. Heineman, pp. 74-76. ISBN 087008125X

External links[edit]