Wodehouse’s Globe Turnovers
Punch and Punchbowls - October 23, 1902 (not October 10 as assumed in McIlvaine)
Besides an occasional article of theatrical criticism, some scattered pieces of political and cultural satire, a few editorials written-to-order in Onlooker, and several sports articles in Public School Magazine and Sandow’s Magazine, Wodehouse by and large did not write nonfiction for the papers or magazines in his early years. His first contributions to the Globe were on August 16, 1901,* when he helped write and prepare his first “By The Way” humor column. Over the next several years he contributed a series of “turnovers” for the Globe’s front page—general interest essays and “social articles” the paper described as “the work of a large number of the best writers of the day, possessing freshness and originality seldom found in this class of literature.” The turnovers were so-named because the editors placed the concluding paragraphs of the text on the second page, hoping the reader would be so interested in the article that he’d turn the page and continue reading. The feature dates from 1871.
The turnovers were printed unsigned. It is only through Wodehouse’s Money Received for Literary Work that we know that he was a contributor to the column. The first of his nine turnovers was “London Street Names,” published on September 19, 1902, his first month of self-employment as a free-lance author, shortly before his twenty-first birthday. He was paid £1·1 for each of them.
In America, I Like You (1956; the 1957 British edition was expanded and published as Over Seventy), Wodehouse wrote that the Globe turnovers were “thousand-word articles of unparalleled dullness. You dug these out of reference books and got a guinea for them.” Wodehouse was right. While researching the turnovers for transcription, Neil Midkiff found that Wodehouse had heavily relied on Volume 2 of The Book of Days: A Miscellany of Popular Antiquities by Robert Chambers, first published in 1864 and frequently reprinted. Nonetheless, publication of a front-page turnover in the Globe was a welcome sale for a young free-lance writer.
Through the courtesy of the Wodehouse Estate and the P.G.W. Globe Reclamation Project, Madame Eulalie presents these rare articles, collected here for the first time since their original print appearances.
* erroneously shown in McIlvaine’s bibliography as August 11, 1901.
This list of Wodehouse’s turnovers is complete, but we invite you to check our main Globe Project menu for new items as we they become available to present on this site.
We welcome your comments as well.