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It's the birthday of novelist P.G. Wodehouse, born Pelham Grenville Wodehouse in Guildford, England (1881). His father was a magistrate in Hong Kong. His mother traveled back and forth between England and Hong Kong, so Wodehouse was raised by a series of aunts. He wanted desperately to go to college, but his father went bankrupt and couldn't pay for his education. Wodehouse got a job as a bank clerk instead and started writing humorous stories and poems on the side. It was as a journalist that Wodehouse first came to the United States — to cover a boxing match — and he fell in love with America right away. He said, "Being [in America] was like being in heaven without going to all the bother and expense of dying."
He moved to Greenwich Village in 1909 and started to write stories for the Saturday Evening Post about an imaginary cartoonish England, full of very polite but brain-dead aristocrats such as Bertie Wooster, who was looked after by his butler Jeeves. He said: "I was writing a story, 'The Artistic Career of Corky,' about two young men, Bertie Wooster and his friend Corky, getting into a lot of trouble, and neither of them had brains enough to get out of the trouble. I thought: Well, how can I get them out? And I thought: Suppose one of them had an omniscient valet? I wrote a short story about him, then another short story, then several more short stories and novels. That's how a character grows."
He wrote more than 100 books, including My Man Jeeves (1919), Summer Lightning (1929), Thank You Jeeves (1934), Young Men in Spats (1936), The Code of the Woosters (1938), and Joy in the Morning (1946).
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