But funny is all it is. The only point of his jokes was to make people laugh. There was no malice in the man. There was in Evelyn Waugh, but Waugh not only defended Wodehouse, he worshipped him, deferred to him. He was so extravagant in his praise that you sometimes wonder whether he was making a cruel joke against Wodehouse. But no, he meant it when he declared, “One has to regard a man as a Master who can produce on average three uniquely brilliant and entirely original similes to every page.” It seems to have bewildered Plum, and it certainly bewilders me. Waugh is the master, the genius. Wodehouse was undoubtedly a fine craftsman, but he was too busy writing books—96 in all—to be a genius.Some of Reid's inability to appreciate Wodehouse is, of course, a matter of preference. De gustabus non disputandum est and all that. There are plenty of fine and cultured people who can't stand Shakespeare, for example, or Hawthorne. Personally, I like Wodehouse and I appreciate this use of language for what it is: a vehicle for wittily telling a story, painting a picture of a time long ago in a place far away. Wodehouse is to be enjoyed because his writing is enjoyable, playful and a pleasure to read. Again, this is purely personal preference here, but it is a preference widely shared and therefore, I would say, not unfounded or irrational.
And don't forget, Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories were made into a delightful t.v. series back in the early 90's, starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. Those shows are definitely worth watching!