This is a book I’ve been waiting to read for months! I put a hold on it at my library when it was still on order, back in September of last year, and finally was able to borrow it yesterday.
It is a treat.
P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters, edited by Sophie Ratcliffe, contains several letters written by Wodehouse to family, friends, and great literary figures from back in the day such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. It isn’t just strictly letters, though, as Sophie Ratcliffe has combined correspondence with biography, thereby providing context and insight. There are also footnotes, providing further context when need be such as social or historical references.
In light of this, I shall leave you, for now, with a quote from the introduction regarding his opinion said biographical context:
Wodehouse is also a writer whose works resist a certain sort of biographical approach. He disliked investigations into his personal life and circumstances, partly because he found them intrusive. […] And he also intimated that biographical context was, to a degree, irrelevant to understanding a work of art. Writing about Shakespeare, he noted that “a thing I can never understand is why all the critics seem to assume that his plays are a reflection of his personal moods and dictated by the circumstances of his private life. You know the sort of thing I mean. They say, “Timon of Athens is a gloomy bit of work. That means Shakespeare was having a lousy time when he wrote it.” I can’t see it. Do you find that your private life affects your work? I don’t.”