UK’s Robert McCrum on P.G. Wodehouse, ‘Jeeves & Wooster,’ and April Fools’ Day

In this special April Fools’ Day edition of The Learning Curve, guest host Mark Bauerlein chats with Robert McCrum, the definitive biographer of the English comic genius P.G. Wodehouse, whose whimsical satires featuring the brilliant valet Reginald Jeeves and the daffy English gentleman Bertie Wooster have delighted generations of readers. They discuss Wodehouse’s pitch-perfect sense of humor, inimitable prose style, and the gentle, much-needed humor he brought to Britain in the wake of
World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic. Mr. McCrum concludes the interview with a reading from his 2004 biography P.G. Wodehouse: A Life.


Robert McCrum is a writer and editor who served as editor-in-chief of Faber & Faber, where he published Kazuo Ishiguro, Milan Kundera, and Mario Vargas Llosa, among other noted authors. At the same time, he wrote seven novels, and co-authored the BBC TV series The Story Of English for which he was awarded an Emmy in 1986, followed by a Peabody Prize in 1987. He was literary editor of The Observer, and published his award-winning biography P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in 2004. Globish: How English Became the World’s Language (2010) was an international bestseller. My Year Off (1998), is now in its third edition as a Picador Classic. McCrum is Associate Editor of The Observer and lives in London. Every Third Thought was published by Picador in 2017 to great acclaim. Shakespearean: On Life and Language in Times of Disruption, a quest to delineate how the Bard continues to influence our contemporary lives, was published in 2020.

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