Wodehouse in Russian

by John O'Sullivan

It seems that the latest Moscow literary fashion is P.G. Wodehouse.

According to here, his books were banned by Stalin in 1929–and to be fair, there is a Stakhanovite quota of deviationism in them–and permitted again only as late as 1989. Today, in addition to his books being translated and widely read again, there is a P.G. Wodehouse society that puts on plays based on them. (There are at least two Drones Clubs in existence–one in London, the other in New York.) One of his admirers says that, if you’ve had the experience of living in the Russia of the last century, the “English heaven” of Wodehouse’s books is irresistible.

I will now have to check with Iain Sproat–the former Tory MP who helped clear Wodehouse’s name of the taint of collaborationism–on the evidence for a related story. Sproat has long maintained that an early Wodehouse short story was on Tolstoy’s bedside table the night he died. From one heaven to another, I suppose.


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