Summer Lightning

August 8, 2012

“The object of all good literature is to purge the soul of its petty troubles.”

There is no better way to describe my expectations for summer reading. Every summer I sit down with a P.G. Wodehouse book and laugh myself silly. For a few days at least, the unrepentant foolishness of Wodehouse’s English lords and ladies squeezes me silly and my “petty troubles” fade away.

So I felt more than a little knowing pleasure when I stumbled upon the quoted passage near the end of chapter 10 of Summer Lightning. As enjoyable as the book proved, there was no avoiding the obvious: the casting and half of the title were  ripped from A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and the plot devices (mistaken identity, getting into a superior’s good graces by robbing him) were a bit creaky from overuse. Still, with a wink and a line, Wodehouse set me straight. “It’s ok, mate. We’re just here for a laugh.” And so we are. Thanks, PG.

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One Response to “Summer Lightning”

  1. […] P.G. Wodehouse brings the lighter touch. He spins words into elaborate gossamer webs that seem completely insubstantial, and yet they have the power to ensnare. Consider this description of an late morning lack experienced by Wodehouse’s hero, Psmith: “For, though he had celebrated his first day of emancipation from Billingsgate Fish Market by rising late and breakfasting later, he had become aware by now of that not unpleasant emptiness which is the silent luncheon-gong of the soul.” […]

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