While I was researching Shakespeare for my previous post, I came across this trailer for a new documentary about Shakespeare called Muse of Fire. The title taken from the opening lines from the Chorus in Henry V (“O for a Muse of fire that would ascend / The brightest heaven of invention), it features several interviews with well-known and notable Shakespearean actors as it examines the enduring appeal of the playwright and his work.
It was recently broadcast by the BBC in the UK and was available on iPlayer. I haven’t seen it yet due to region restrictions, however I plan to as soon as it’s available this side of the pond.
Last year I chanced upon a BBC documentary called Wogan on Wodehouse. Broadcast in 2011, Terry Wogan pieces together P.G. Wodehouse’s life and its parallels in his writings, often brilliantly inspired. Unlike some documentaries that try to uncover supposed hidden truths or darker aspects in an author’s works through their life, the parallels only further illuminate Wodehouse’s brilliance as a wordsmith and his ability in seeing the humour in life.
I believe I was between the ages of thirteen and fourteen when I read my first Wodehouse book, Carry On, Jeeves. Since then, I’ve read more of his books and enjoy them as much as I did upon first reading them, if not more so. After reading any of his stories, I always come away with a feeling that I can only describe as rich and uplifted. How he uses language is invigorating.
Most of the enjoyment that one gets out of reading his writing is his use of simile, alliteration, and witty, sometimes irreverent, allusions and references to Shakespeare and classical studies, usually the Romantic poets, and the Bible. All of which are handled deftly. His writing is such that he is one of those very few writers in which one derives more enjoyment by reading it himself than hearing it read out loud or narrated, as when listening to an audiobook.