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Uncle Fred in the Springtime (Blandings Castle #6)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  2,573 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Pongo Twistleton is in a state of financial embarrassment, again. Uncle Fred, meanwhile, has been asked by Lord Emsworth to foil a plot to steal the Empress, his prize pig. Along with Polly Pott (daughter of old Mustard), they form a deputation to Blandings Castle, bent on doing a "bit of good".
Hardcover, Everyman Wodehouse, 288 pages
Published April 15th 2004 by Everyman (first published 1939)
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Community Reviews

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Time was I read a lot of PG Wodehouse, in the pre-web days where series that were oversupplied in used bookstore had a special place in my heart. I eventually had to stop because while I loved them I couldn't remember if I'd read Carry On, Jeeves but not Right Ho, Jeeves. And since all the plots involved Bertie starting himself accidentally engaged while trying to help out a friend and ended with him giving up on his desire to wear a green tie or white pants over the objections of Jeeves, I simp ...more
Once again Wodehouse brings roses back to the cheeks. And once again I am amazed by his ability with words, aided by his astounding vocabulary and apparent erudition. From beautifully worded original descriptions in polysyllables, to both popular and obscure Latinisms, to numerous vernaculars and slang, he seems perfectly at home with them all and can fashion them into something light, bright and sparkling. His command of the English language is gorgeously beautiful, and as Keats puts it, "A thi ...more
Uncle Fred has become my favorite Wodehouse character. He is so calming, in spite of his escapades, because you know that he can handle anything (short of his wife's disapproval) that life could throw his way. A little blackmail here, taking a new identity there, and it's all fixed.
I am amazed that Wodehouse finds so many reasons for young couples to break their engagements, as well as reasons for needing to raise a bit of capital. The last paragraph of this novel seems to convey a warm, fuzzy feeling, but there's really not as much to be warm and fuzzy about as in the other Wodehouses I've read. They usually end with about six weddings in the works. This one has only one that we can be relatively sure of happening - that of Polly and Ricky - and her father and his uncle a ...more
Before reading "Leave it to Psmith," I had an irrational aversion to non-Jeeves and Wooster Wodehouses. The character of Psmith completely overcame my aversion--he was some sort of unbelievable mongrel of J&W, simultaneously smart + stupid and sensible + debauched, as well as being the most hyper-articulate Wodehouse character I've come across so far. Now having read "Uncle Fred," I can happily report that it isn't just great characters that you can find in non-J&Ws, it's great plots as ...more
What would life be without Wodehouse? It gives one the h.j. to contemplate, if that's the word I want. In the shires of imagination, no citizen does his or her duty quite so delightfully as Uncle Fred. Springtime is the season that Wodehouse brings with him, read whenever.
Jul 21, 2007 Plummo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People I like
The greatest of the greatest.

A pig hides in the bathroom and eats soap. A beloved uncle jumps out of a wardrobe. A bedeviled duke sets about the furniture with a poker. Eggs are thrown at whistlers.

Can you spot the gaping hole in the plot?
Steve Mitchell
When the absent minded pig lover Lord Emsworth entertains the obstinate and quick tempered Duke of Dunstable at Blandings Castle a clash of personalities was bound to happen even if the two do agree on one thing: the other is totally loopy! Throw into the melting pot a broken engagement, an engagement that cannot be completed for lack of funds, some serious gambling debts and a private detective that cannot forget that he was a former silver ring turf accountant and life at Blandings looks set t ...more
Whenever Lord Ickenham, ever altruistic and wanting to spread light and happiness to all around him, comes up with plans, you may be sure there will be sufficient impromptu changes in the execution of these plans to test the patience and sanity of the unwitting victims and beneficiaries of these plans.

In this installment, dear Uncle Fred has to plan the rescue of a prized pig, pass himself off as a reknown psychologist to prevent a ducal houseguest from throwing eggs at a whistling gardener, fi
When Anthony Lane, an admitted Wodehouse addict, met Wodehouse biographer Robert Crum, Lane reports that he was greeted "not with a 'Hello' or a 'How are you?' but with the words 'When did you last read "Uncle Fred in the Springtime"?' I replied, quite truthfully, 'Yesterday.'" Lane, who at his best is a worthy successor to the Master, says it "may be Wodehouse's greatest novel." I'd place it right behind my three favorite Woosters, but my third reading was an unmitigated pleasure - except for t ...more
Wodehouse obviously spoke to a generation of English people - but what was he saying to them? That their fears and prejudices were good things? That women and romance were not to be trusted? He was an author of escapist fictions, and as Anthony Lane points out so well in an essay about Wodehouse, like other second rate authors (Tolkien and Doyle e.g.), when one turns the key and enters their world, one enters a world of limited possibilities and guaranteed outcomes - and therein lies the pleasur ...more
(This was a shared read with Donald. No specific notes.)

Plenty of laughs, as always!

We agreed that some of the relationships/characters in this book were a bit confusing. So many dukes, lords, and earls! (And for us-- simple, modern folk from the U.S. and Sweden-- the distinction between an earl and a duke is negligible, at best.) So many nieces, nephews, and sons! We could have used some sort of diagram or chart to keep them sorted. Of course, keeping track of exact relationships isn't necessar
Dire che mi e' piaciuto poco! Penso che sia una di quelle letture da raccomandare quando si stanchi, stufi, tristi, quando le giornate sembrano grigie e la testa ingombra di pensieri. Un libro di Wodehouse come una pillola per il buonumore.
Immergersi nel mondo di Wodehouse e' come entrare in una fiaba, un mondo a se' stante in cui alla fin fine non succede nulla di particolare, ma i buffi personaggi che lo popolano non possono non strapparci una risata.
Teatro delle vicende di questo romanzo
*3.75 stars.
*The first two quotes are from a short story that introduced me to the characters of Pongo and Uncle Fred. The rest come from the novel:
“If he had a mind, there was something on it” (102).
"'And they've opened a pot of my raspberry jam.'
"'Ah, then you will be able to catch them red-handed'" (117).
“He was devoted to his helpmeet, never wavering in the opinion that she was the sweetest thing that had ever replied ‘Yes’ to a clergyman’s ‘Wilt thou?’” (33).
“…there had come into Mr. Pott’s
Michael N.Wilton
Whenever you hear that the Earl of Ickenham or 'Uncle Fred' as he is known, is at large, his nephew Pongo turns faint with foreboding, and he usually has good cause. For once Uncle Fred is let loose on the metropolis anything can happen, and it invariably does.
When Alaric, Duke of Dunstable gets one of his crackpot ideas of removing the Empress of Blandings from the her sty and get her fit, her outraged owner, the Earl of Emsworth, calls hopefully on the trusty services of Uncle Fred to save the
Good lord, this is hysterical even by Wodehouse standards. "This leaves us with the simple problem - How is this existing state of what I might call 'plus pig' to be converted into a state of 'minus pig'? There can be only one answer, my dear Emsworth. The pig must be smuggled away to a place of safety and kept under cover till the Duke has blown over." Oh, if only it could be so simple!
Pongo Twisleton is in need of cash so he applies to his wealthy friend Horace Davenport. Horace has troubles of his own: first, his uncle, the Duke of Dunstable broke up the sitting-room furniture with a poker and then Horace's fiance, Valerie Twisleton broke up with him because he hired a private detective to tail her while she was on vacation. Next, Horace took his dancing teacher Polly Pott out for a night on the town and found himself in a brawl with Polly's fiance Ricky Gilpin. Polly loves ...more
Jun 17, 2014 K. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brit-wit fans, Wodehouse lovers
Shelves: smart-humor
Uncle Fred is a darling!

How can a reader not fall ears over heels for Wodehouse when he describes a character like this:

"...there entered a young man of great height but lacking the width of shoulder and ruggedness of limb which make height impressive. Nature, stretching Horace Davenport out, had forgotten to stretch him sideways, and one could have pictured Euclid, had they met, nudging a friend and saying: 'Don't look now, but this chap coming along illustrates exactly what I was telling you
From BBC Radio 4:
Charming Earl of Ickenham (Uncle Fred) has received a plea from affably dotty Lord Emsworth to help foil a plot to steal his prize-winning pig. And to examine the sanity of eccentric Duke of Dunstable.
It's no good trying to relate the details of a Wodehouse novel's plot, so I'll summarize by saying this: impostors! Ridiculous fun and a top-tier Wodehouse, though it would have benefited from more Empress (and by including/resolving more of the romances, but I am just That Sort Of Reader, ymmv). This is the first Uncle Fred story I've read, and he proved delightfully terrifying in his schemes.

Advisory note: one of the editions--not the one I read, or else I might have skipped this book entirely
Very clever and very funny, I must read more.
Dec 16, 2013 Joan rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English lit students
I've only read the Jeeves books before. Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (got it off the copyright info. No wonder the poor guy went by P. G.!) was a famous British writer of humor. I was curious to see what another series by him would be like. Maybe it is true of the Jeeves series as well, but this has not stood up to time very well at all. Sexist to the max, The one attempt at evening out the field between the man and woman is indignantly refused by the female who is perfectly happy to have her belo ...more
Ritorna l'appuntamento con Wodehouse, e direi finalmente, dato che ho terminato gli orribili libricini rossi della Mursia (se li vedete, fuggite!) in cui i racconti del nostro grande autore venivano sfigurati da una traduzione raccapricciante! Anche l'edizione di questo libro è parecchio datata (un Mondadori degli anni Sessanta dalla copertina piuttosto inquietante) e anche in questo caso la traduzione riserva qualche sorpresa, ovvero la traduzione dei nomi propri! Esilarante!

Al di là di questi
Had been keeping this book aside, saving it for an especially tough reading phase, when I can't tolerate reading anything but Wodehouse, and it didn't disappoint. (By the way, that phase was triggered by a few pages of The Fountainhead. Groan.) The all-star cast of Lord Emsworth, the Empress, Lady Constance, the Duke of Dunstable, Rupert Baxter, Beach the butler, Alaric Gilpin, Horace Davenport, Claude 'Mustard' Pott, Polly Pott, Pongo Twistleton, and of course, Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Twi ...more
Ian Wood
Jan 31, 2008 Ian Wood rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: p-g-wodehouse
If not the best then, at worst, ‘Uncle Fred in the Springtime’ is one of the best Wodehouse novels. It is a sort of a ‘Best of Wodehouse’ with Pongo Twistleton and his Uncle Fred, whom we met previously in ‘Young Men in Spats’, flitting by Blandings Castle under an assumed name, as is traditional to first time visitors. The name in question belongs to Roderick Glossop, renowned psychiatrist, whom has had to pronounce Bertie Wooster certifiable on more than one occasion.

Also present at Blandings
Tashi Chenzom
I wasn't too happy when I started to read but I definitely ended with a smile and thought of wanting to read more of such books. In the beginning I struggled to understand the humour and couldn't really laugh. When I got the hang of it, I started to smile. Uncle Fred's personality is was so cool and adorable. He is also witty and fast thinker. He has solutions for almost everything but solutions are not necessarily easy and without consequences. I like how it ended, with him getting everything h ...more
Craig Shier
Maybe my favorite. It makes great bedtime reading. You'll sleep with a smile.
Uncle Fred is the most imperturbable characters in Wodehouse other than Jeeves. He always has a scheme to deal with whatever problem comes up, and if the scheme does not work due to the outrages of fortune, then he is quick to improvise.
If you have never read Wodehouse, this is a great one to start with. You'll want your own copy to ready again every once in a while.
Melanie Greene

So, I went into this expecting the usual froth of joy and sharp observation masked by understatement. And you know what? I got it in spades. Poor Pongo is putty in Wodehouse's hands - not one thing is resolved before a newer, worse obstacle appears to cause him more agony. And Uncle Fred is at his best here, managing to manipulate everyone while having as much fun as possible and staying (mostly) out of trouble. There are aristocrats and impostors and scar
Addy Singh
Uncle Fred in the Springtime is absolute masterclass. The narrative switches between events and characters in a most hilarious manner. Uncle Fred, Duke of Ickenham and an aspiring confidence artist, is an extraordinary improviser. The gravitas and suaveness he employs in dealing with untoward situations, which are abound, is absolutely nail-bitingly brilliant. British humor at its finest.
In this story, Uncle Fred ends up posing as eminent brain-specialist, Sir Roderick Glossop, at Blandings Castle while trying to work out several problems at once - securing the engagement of Polly, finding money to protect Pongo from his bookies, and protecting the Empress from a potential pig-napping. As always there are romantic entanglements, broken engagements, misunderstandings, and meddling from Lady Constance and the former secretary, Baxter.

Wodehouse is as entertaining as ever. Pure esc
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Which Duke of Dunstable? 1 5 Jan 11, 2014 06:08AM  
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Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE, was a comic writer who enjoyed enormous popular success during a career of more than seventy years and continues to be widely read over 40 years after his death. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of prewar English upper-class so ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Blandings Castle (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Something Fresh (Blandings Castle, #1)
  • Leave It to Psmith (Psmith, #4 ; Blandings Castle, #2)
  • Blandings Castle
  • Summer Lightning
  • Heavy Weather (Blandings Castle, #5)
  • Full Moon (Blandings Castle, #7)
  • Pigs Have Wings (Blandings Castle, #8)
  • Service With a Smile
  • Galahad at Blandings (Blandings Castle, #10)
  • A Pelican at Blandings (Blandings Castle, #11)
My Man Jeeves (Jeeves, #1) Carry on, Jeeves (Jeeves, #3) The Code of the Woosters (Jeeves, #7) Right Ho, Jeeves (Jeeves, #6) The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves, #2)

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“A lesser moustache, under the impact of that quick, agonised expulsion of breath, would have worked loose at the roots.” 11 likes
“The cosy glow which had been enveloping the Duke became shot through by a sudden chill. It was as if he had been luxuriating in a warm shower bath, and some hidden hand had turned on the cold tap.” 6 likes
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