Why do fans throughout the world continue to read and re-read the novels, stories, plays, lyrics, and poems of a writer born over 138 years ago? Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (“Plum” to his family and friends, who pronounce his surname as “wood-house”) wrote some of the most entertaining books of the twentieth century, and created enduring characters that millions would like to call their friends. His may well be the longest professional career of any writer: his first short story was published in 1901, when he was nineteen, and his paid journalistic work had begun the previous year; he continued to write until the day of his death at ninety-three, in 1975. For three-quarters of a century, on both sides of the Atlantic, he worked to craft and polish an inimitable style that appeals to nearly everyone, with brilliantly devised farcical plots and a witty use of language that seems to have been tossed off without a care. But his work has rightly been compared to Mozart’s music and Fred Astaire’s dancing: it seems simple and effortless because so much behind-the-scenes work went into its preparation.
These pages provide some collected data on the novels and short stories for collectors and readers who are eager not to miss any of the works they can find.
The data sources are primarily the Millennium Wodehouse Concordance by Tony Ring, his introductions to Plum Stones, Dan Garrison’s Who’s Who in Wodehouse, and Jasen’s P. G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master; I’ve added a good deal of original research, and have caught a few errors in each of these sources. Other Wodehouse scholars have helped with comments and suggestions, as credited on the page. I’m sure I’ve added a few errors of my own inadvertently, and don’t make any claims that this is the sum of all knowledge on the topic; it remains a work in progress.
One of the advantages of doing this in HTML tables is that I can show how the various magazine versions relate to the book versions. For instance, “Rough-Hew Them How We Will” appeared both in the Strand and in Cosmopolitan in slightly differing versions. The Strand version is essentially the one in The Man Upstairs; the Cosmopolitan one has not been collected in any book.
As you’ll see, there are still some stories not yet examined in order to make these fine distinctions, so I would be grateful for brief particulars thereon, as well as any comments, corrections or additions on any point. See the Contact page to reach me.
Even in its current state, it puts together data that as far as I know cannot be found in any other single place. I hope you’ll find it helpful, as I have found the process of compiling it enjoyable. Thanks especially to Tony Ring for checking some of the discrepancies against his original sources.