‘Leave it to Jeeves’ is the first in a collection of eight short stories to be found in Wodehouse’s book My Man Jeeves (1919). It endeavours to portray another tale of the infamous duo whereby Wooster sets out to solve his artisan friend, ‘Corky’s,’ problems with his powerful and strong minded uncle. How? you may ask. Simple: just “Leave it to Jeeves.”
Corky is a portrait artist, who of course can never draw a portrait until he has had his first portrait commissioned; makes perfect sense when you think about it. As a result Corky has decided to live off his wealthy Uncle Alexander Worple’s fortune, through a weekly allowance. However, such a living can quite easily be cut short if Corky were to get on the wrong side of his uncle. Inevitably this is what the story goes on to portray, as Wooster makes every attempt to help prevent his friend from doing so. His efforts are not helped by Corky’s decision to gain a fiancée before his uncle’s approval, and so Jeeves is called upon to solve the problem.
Although intelligent, ultimately Jeeves’ original plan blows up in their faces, due to Corky’s fiancée’s need to climb the social ladder through marriage to the wealthiest of the family, Uncle Worple. The irony of this turn of events is that Corky unwittingly gains his fortune through his broken heart, later in the story. (A twist you’ll have to find out by reading the story yourself).
Ultimately Wodehouse applies a satirical upper class sociolect to his primary characters to create a story which is just as humorous as any other full length novel. His works have gone on to inform numerous modern interpretations, such as Clive Exton’s (11th April 1930 – 16th August 2007) British sitcom, ‘Jeeves and Wooster,’ starring Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, as well as modern technologies being named after his characters, for example the ‘Jeeves’ online search engine. (Although a search engine with nothing but advertisements, which provides no rival to Google, is hardly a fitting memorial to the Wodehousian characteristics of Jeeves).
Wodehouse was largely influenced by the historical and political context of his time, as all writers are; however, Wodehouse applies his views through melodramatic and exaggerated characters which results in an eccentric and hysterically humorous story which is short and easy to read, even today. An example of this humour can easily be found in Wodehouse’s descriptions of Jeeves. Wodehouse cannot simply say that Jeeves cracked a smile; he must demonstrate that Jeeves experienced a “paternal muscular spasm of the mouth.” It is with this comedy and style of writing that engages the reader not only to read to the end of the story, but also on to the next story, and the next…
Wodehouse makes for some light reading to cheer you up at the end of the day.
If you like any sort of light-hearted, charismatic text, then Leave it to Jeeves is for you. Just check out the link below to have a read for yourself: