For a variety of reasons, producing a comprehensive bibliography of Wodehouse's work is a formidable, not to say impossible, task.

In the first place, there's his longevity. His first book was published in 1902, his last in 1977, two years after his death, and it's probably not too far from the truth to say that hardly a day passed during the first three-quarters of the 20th century when he was not writing something: even while interned during World War 2, he continued to work on at least one novel, Money in the Bank, which was published after his release.

Then there's the fact that, because he had different publishers in the UK and US, the same book was frequently published under different titles in the two markets. And not just under different titles: the contents were often changed, sometimes trivially — to reflect different spelling and terminology in the two countries — sometimes more significantly. The first book in the Blandings saga illustrates the problems: in the UK this was published as Something Fresh, in the US as Something New; there are numerous trivial changes, eg British "pavement" becomes American "sidewalk", and one of the main characters is an Englishman in the UK edition, an American in the US edition, which necessitated some changes in the details; but, more significantly, Something New includes a scene of some 20 pages that is not to be found in Something Fresh, the reason being that this particular scene had already appeared some years earlier in another book, Mike, which was published in UK but not in the US.

A further complication is that many of the books, especially in the 1920s and '30s, were serialised in magazines before being published in book form and in some cases there are differences between the serial and book versions. For example, the early novel A Gentleman of Leisure (US The Intrusion of Jimmy) first appeared as a magazine serial under the title The Gem Collector, in which form it differs markedly from the book version.

UK and US editions of the short story collections also differ, and even when the title is the same, the contents sometimes are not. The problems are well illustrated by the collections published under the title The Man With Two Left Feet; the UK edition contains 13 stories, four of which are not in the US edition, while the 12 stories in the latter include three that are absent from the UK edition.

Also, a few short stories were published separately, in book form, for copyright or promotional reasons. Then there are the books, again mainly collections of short stories and other writings but including one unfinished novel, that were published posthumously. And how does one treat the books that were co-authored with others?

And that's only the books. The P G Wodehouse Society (UK) lists 19 plays in which Wodehouse had a hand. These include four that he adapted from his own works, five that he adapted from the works of others, five adaptions of his own works and three adaptions of the works of others that he co-authored, and two original works of which he was co-author. And at least one of these works was performed under two wholly different titles.

Add the vast number of short pieces that he wrote, often under pseudonyms, for journals and magazines, many of which have long since ceased publication, and the task of producing a definitive bibliography becomes a daunting one. In fact, the most authoritative bibliography, compiled by Eileen McIlvaine, runs to several hundred pages, and even that contains a few errors and an unknown number of omissions.

For all these reasons, I haven't attempted in these pages to produce a definitive Wodehouse bibliography. What I have tried to do is to provide as complete a list as possible of the books (including short story collections) published during Wodehouse's lifetime: I've stretched a point to include Sunset at Blandings, the novel that he was working on when he died and which was subsequently published in its incomplete form.

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