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The Pothunters and Other School Stories (School Stories)

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  504 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
'You have been misinformed, I fear, Sir Alfred. I have not trespassed in your grounds for—ah—a considerable time.' The Head could not resist this thrust. In his unregenerate 'Varsity days he had been a power at the Union, where many a foeman had exposed himself to a verbal counter from him with disastrous results. Now the fencing must be done with buttons on the foils.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 5th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1902)
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(showing 1-30 of 888)
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Sherwood Smith
Two longish novellas and a series of short stories make up this volume of Wodehouse's school stories, written before he became famous. One can see the master forming his distinctive voice, and working out the brilliant intricacy of his plotting, in delightfully clear prose. Really, one has to read school stories of that period, most written in either lugubrious late Victorian trainloads of subordinate clauses, or the awkwardly purplosity of the cheap magazine story, to realize how extraordinary ...more
Evan Leach
When Douglas Adams calls you the greatest comic writer ever, that is pretty high praise in my book, and Adams’ high opinion of P.G. Wodehouse led me to take the plunge and try his first novel. Wodehouse was truly prolific, writing nearly 100 books over the course of his seven decade career, but I decided to start from the beginning with his debut, The Pothunters, first published all the way back in 1902.

This book is set at an English boarding school, and is categorized as one of Wodehouse’s “sch
Jan 07, 2009 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, humor
"The Pothunters" was the first book that P. G. Wodehouse had published. It was first published in the U.K. on September 18, 1902, and featured the students and staff of St. Austin's, a school in England. Prior to that, it had appeared as a serial in "Public School Magazine" starting in January of 1902. Wodehouse had published stories about St. Austin's prior to this one, starting with "The Prize Poem" in July of 1901, but this is his first published in book form. Though this book clearly has som ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jun 24, 2013 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jayaprakash by:
I own a different edition, an Indian one from Jaico Publishing with truly preposterous cover art.

When I first encountered Wodehouse's school stories, I was a fan of his Jeeves & Wooster and Blandings novels (as well as of the Mulliner tales), but these books didn't draw me in, largely because of how they all seemed to revolve so much around sports. I still don't care for sports, but now I'm able to enjoy Wodehouse's prose in its nascent stage, already most smooth and well paced and showing
Dec 14, 2013 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wodehouse-redux
This is Wodehouse's first book, a pippin of an idyll of Edwardian public school life, and one that still glows with sunshine and inconsequence, lo these hundred years. More a set of sketches than a proper tale, The Pothunters ostensibly recounts the search for a sackful of school sporting trophies ('pots') that are burgled from the campus of St. Austin's, the first of Wodehouse's fictional boys' schools, each of which seems to exist on the banks of the river time in some changeless pastoral swar ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edwardian, humor, campus, 1900s
PG Wodehouse was only twenty when his first book, The Pothunters (1902), appeared in the bookshops. Though he had shown remarkable promise as a student at Dulwich, and seemed destined for a 'Varsity education, upon graduation he reluctantly accepted a minor position at a bank, opening mail and filling ledgers. His hopes of higher education had been dashed by his father’s reluctance to support both Plum and his older brother at Oxford at the same time.

His hands may have been in the City, but his
May 06, 2016 Daniel rated it liked it
Welcome to I am exceptional at sarcastic clapping or I have no respect for a musical group that has to resort to good old rock and roll to get an audience interested

I'm about to upgrade my Blue Alpha superhero costume. After the upgrade, should I call myself Blue Beta or Blue Alpha 2.0?

As Blue Alpha, I've noticed that I can only be stopped with cheap domestic beer and a good divorce lawyer.

When I remove my Blue Alpha costume at the end of the night, I typically say to myself "Another day of bei
Leandro Guimarães Faria Corcete DUTRA
Very amuſiŋ comedic adventures of Engliſh public boardiŋ ſchool boys.
Sep 24, 2014 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wodehouse's first published book...and it shows. Would a Scotland Yard detective really get involved with two stolen sports trophies? Surely not even in 1902. Characters are weakky drawn and mostly interchangeable and indistinguishable from each other. The school slang, though, is hilarious for all the wrong reasons
Jann Barber
Jan 18, 2014 Jann Barber rated it it was ok
I am challenging myself to play Book Bingo. One of the squares lists "First Book by Favorite Author." I LOVE P.G. Wodehouse and have many of his books. The Pothunters was his first book. The version I have does not contain other school stories and is not paperback, as is the stand alone volume offered on Goodreads.


If my first experience with Wodehouse had been this book, I doubt I would have read any more. The reader can spot places where Plum's clever use of words peeked through, but I
Jan 12, 2012 Nachikethas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vintage Wodehouse. But then again, I am very partial to Wodehouse. This is, perhaps, not the first book of Wodehouse you should read, but well worth it if you've tried his other works and liked it.
I only read the first chapter. Boxing, blah. Just wasn't for me.
Phil Syphe
'The Pothunters' was Wodehouse's first publication, dating back to 1902.

At times it felt like I was reading a book by the great author that P. G. eventually became, but mostly I felt bored by this tale of college life, featuring various sporting activities, with too many characters.

The absence of female characters, other than the odd cameo, naturally removed any potential love interest that Wodehouse became so good at.

So worth reading to see how this great author got his first footing on the lit
Aug 21, 2015 Marfita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humorous-novel
Reading this just takes me back to Palin/Jones and "Tomkinson's Schooldays." Oh, and "If" - of course. What with all the sports (boxing, track) and the vocab, it's hard to picture these characters as kids. They sound more like college (oh, sorry, it is "college") - I mean, university students. I don't think it was adequately explained why Plunkett felt obliged to enjoy his crafty pipe-smoke not only out-of-bounds, but on the property of the crankiest anti-trespasser in town. Lovely period piece! ...more
After several books of assigned reading (self-assigned, sure, but assigned none-the-less), I was hardly in the mood for any more academic or serious reads. The endless antidote? Wodehouse. Always Wodehouse.

The Pothunters is, as far as Wikipedia tells me (and really, should I go through all the effort of checking to see if Wikipedia tells the truth? No. If my students don't, why should I?), the first book published by Wodehouse. It shows. Here, his writing style is restrained. Not the confidant n
Ian Wood
Oct 06, 2007 Ian Wood rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: P G Wodehouse obsessives only
Shelves: p-g-wodehouse
The Pothunters was P G Wodehouse’s debut novel based on the occupants of St Austin’s public school which he had written about in various magazines at that point. None of the wit, farce and language that came to be synonymous with Wodehouse are present and it stands as merely an up-date on Tom Browns School Days with it’s public school morals with the central message been that you can rag all you like providing you play the game and do the square thing for your house and the school.

The plot invol
Jilly Gagnon
May 17, 2015 Jilly Gagnon rated it really liked it
Let's get things straight: I love P.G. Wodehouse.

Love him.

But this book, one of his earliest efforts, I think, suffers from being VERY much of its time and place.

In some way all his books are of a time and place - the earlier parts of the century, amongst non-working, moneyed aristocratic twits. But that's a mythical world, anyway, and one that non-brits can wrap their heads around.

The stories in this book are very much dependent on interest in and/or knowledge of british public schools around 1
Sep 02, 2010 Scot rated it liked it
One of Wodehouse's earlier novels that conveys life at an early 20th century British public school (what Americans would know as a boarding school). This one lacks a specific hero, moving around among a range of boys, and includes glimpses into aspects of this cultural experience I have not seem emphasized in some of his other contributions in this genre--the sport of emphasis here is track, the plot device is an unsolved mystery of some trophy cups stolen from the pavilion and how various boys ...more
Lucas Johnson
Jan 30, 2016 Lucas Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The real drift of the plot involves jealous rage and a near disaster for one of the characters as he becomes implicated in a matter that could turn him out of his place. It is only a bit of luck, and literal stumbling blocks, that close the investigation satisfactorily. My relief was not comical by the end. If any one other than Wodehouse wrote this book it would be classified under suspense/mystery not humor.
Aparajita Raychaudhury
A mildly entertaining story, about the antics of students residing in a British public school. The Sports Day action, the Prefects hanging out in their studies and getting up to all sorts of mischief, the well meaning teachers - I've read all of them before, in countless books that revolve around life in a British public school.

But unlike Tom Brown's School Days, this was too short and had too many actors to make me care about any of the boys. The mystery wasn't very satisfactory either, neither
Gary Jeleniewski
Wodehouse's first published book (really just a compilation of school stories that were previously printed as serialized magazine entries). It's enjoyable enough, with the usual witticisms and Wodehosian characters, but I have to say that the plot runs in fits and starts, the eponymous title plays very little in the story, and the ending is definitely what one would call anticlimactic. But it's Wodehouse. So all is forgiven.
Lee Belbin
Almost needs translation from the period school jargon but an ok yarn about school code, formalities around stealing of silver cups. Witty but due to language, oft hard to follow
Katherine Rowland
Jan 06, 2015 Katherine Rowland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fic-humor
I was a little worried, going into this book, that I would be disappointed: authors' oeuvres often fall flat when one reads them after having read their later masterpieces. I needn't have worried, though: while The Pothunters isn't as seamless or polished as Wodehouse's later works, there is still plenty to enjoy (even for those of is who don't understand sports, which take up a good amount of space in the story). The humor and description is stunningly fresh, given that this was written in 1902 ...more
3.5 stars.

I've been intending to read P.G. Wodehouse for yonks; I'd only heard of the Jeeves series, but my store didn't have any, so I decided to start with his earliest novel, "The Pothunters." I was pleased to find it totally entertaining and readable. It took a little bit to get used to the British schoolboy jargon, and I'll admit keeping track of the characters was a bit of a feat, but ultimately it all comes together quite nicely. (I did have to turn to Wikipedia for some of the more dated
Aug 16, 2015 Abs007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is PG's first novel and it shows a bit. I'd say it would qualify as a young adult book of it's time with it's school setting and preoccupation with petty theft and similar larks and tomfoolery. A pleasant enough read and some signs later in the piece of the Wodehouse touch but I can't really go beyond a 2 rating knowing what's to come in the future.
Godo Stoyke
Wodehouse's first book. Tried this twice, but just found it too boring.
Miles Wakefield
Jul 20, 2014 Miles Wakefield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you went to a British public school, this book may cause you to remember your schooldays with amusement. Its a different world of course but the beginning chapter is about the funniest piece of school writing the master has written.

The story leaps and jumps, throwing in characters who, in my day, wouldnt have lasted too long at school due to lack of due diligence. The subjects seem to consist solely of Greek and Latin so perhaps we shouldnt judge them too harshly.

Morals abound here and in t
Jan 23, 2016 Tushara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not worth commenting on.My first book of Wodehouse and a bad choice.
Aug 19, 2014 Neil rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wodehouse's very first book and like all of his first five or six, of which it is actually one of the better ones, a public school story. A likeable story of stolen sports trophies (the "Pots" of the title) it's only really let down by a remarkably dull ending, in which things are sorted out without any input from the major characters at all! You can see glimpses of the Wodehouse to come in the writing, in fact his later style owes much to the style of the turn of the century public school story ...more
May 28, 2015 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-try
The first P. G. Wodehouse novel, and very enjoyable. Shorter, around 150 pages, and not quite as sharp as some of his later novels, but good nonetheless. A boy's school story with a minor mystery as the centre piece to the plot. Wodehouse's witty is always clear and witty, and he is very good at portraying mannerisms and class distinctions. It is only within the last two years that I have begun to read Wodehouse, and I look forward to working my through his entire oeuvre.
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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
More about P.G. Wodehouse...

Other Books in the Series

School Stories (6 books)
  • A Prefect's Uncle (School Stories, #2)
  • Tales of St. Austin's (School Stories, #3)
  • The Gold Bat
  • The Head of Kay's
  • The White Feather

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