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Performing Flea: A Self-Portrait in Letters

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Published 1961 by Penguin (first published 1953)
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Andrew Fish
In these days of telephones and texts, emails and instant messaging, it's easy to forget how prevalent letters once were as a form of communication. Some were positively prolific in their communication, even when - as with Wodehouse - they spent most of their time earning their crust by writing novels.

This, then, is a collection of extracts from a lifelong correspondence to William Townend, a friend of Wodehouse's schooldays. Townend himself was also a writer and so much of the expurgated corres
Aug 15, 2010 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Entertaining biography of Wodehouse as told in letters to a school friend over the course of 40-50 years. He gives many helpful hints to his friend about writing, revealing how he manages plots, characters, etc.

I was amazed at how many famous people were Wodehouse's contemporaries and with whom he had interaction: Gershwin, Fred Astaire, Zeigfeld, George Orwell, A. A. Milne, Eleanor Roosevelt, Steinbeck, and more. I knew Wodehouse wrote prolifically, but I had no idea he wrote Broadway lyrics,
Jan 14, 2015 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of letters from Wodehouse to a (vastly less successful - but who wasn't?) fellow-writer schoolfriend of Wodehouse, plus a longish appendix describing PG's experience as an internee during WW2, first at the citadel of Huy, in Belgium (where I watched Germany beat England in the World Cup semifinals, or was it quarterfinals, a few years ago), and then at Tost.

It's extremely interesting both about Wodehouse's practices and thoughts as a writer and about his wartime experience.
Jan 14, 2015 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wodehouse, writing
This is a fascinating look at someone who is actually working as an actual writer. P.G. Wodehouse is a treasure, one of the world's best authors, and yet in this book even he worries that people will discover he's just been fooling them for 50 years.

The book ends with some chapters from an unpublished memoir about the time he was being held prisoner by the Germans during WWII. This was also very educational for very different reasons. I'm glad the world has stopped accusing Wodehouse of being a
Nov 06, 2015 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Wodehouse got a lot of flack during and after the war for his Berlin broadcasts, but instead of revealing a dunderhead who was getting cozy with the enemy the transcripts here reveal that he was a formidable intelligence asset to the Allies, wrapping in his trademark humor timetables, staff, train routes and prison locations that should have been of great importance to any spy or soldier worth his ration of salt.
Jul 31, 2015 Lauri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letters
A must read for any Wodehouse fan. You get such an incredibly intimate view into his thoughts and approach to writing through decades of letters to his friend. I loved it!
Dec 22, 2008 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of PGW letters written between 1910 and 1955. Partcularly expansive on the internment years.
Amanda French
Performing Flea. A Self Portrait in Letters by P.G Wodehouse (1953)
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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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