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- A47 (Library Box)
- A59 (Library Box)
- A85 (Library Box)
- A100 (Library Box)
- Aunts Aren't Gentlemen
- B24 (Library Box)
- B25 (Library Box)
- Bertie (Jeeves and Wooster)
- Carry On, Jeeves
- The Code of the Woosters
- Enter Jeeves
- Stephen Fry
- I say Jeeves, don't you think all great literature is about characters who change and grow(qm)
- The Inimitable Jeeves
- Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
- Jeeves and the King of Clubs
- Jeeves and the Leap of Faith
- Jeeves and the Song of Songs
- Jeeves and Wooster
- Jeeves and Wooster (series)
- Jeeves and Wooster (TV series)
- Jeeves in the Morning
- Jeeves in the Offing
- Jeeves Omnibus
- Jeeves Takes Charge
- Joy in the Morning
- Hugh Laurie
- The Mating Season
- The Most of P. G. Wodehouse
- My Man Jeeves
- Right Ho, Jeeves
- Ring for Jeeves
- Ben Schott
- Scream for Jeeves: A Parody
- Thank You, Jeeves
- Very Good, Jeeves
- Bertie Wooster
- Bertie Wooster 20090424
- Jeeves and Wooster (series)
- Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (cover) Penguin.jpg
- Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (cover).jpg
- Carry On, Jeeves (cover).jpg
- Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry as Wooster and Jeeves.jpg
- Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (cover).jpg
- Jeeves and Wooster (TV series) (cover).jpg
- Jeeves and Wooster - Character change.png
- Jeeves in the Offing (cover).jpg
- The Code of the Woosters (cover).jpg
P. G. Wodehouse
Hugh Laurie and others
Aunt Dahlia (aunt),|
Aunt Agatha (aunt),
Bertram Wilberforce "Bertie" Wooster is a recurring fictional character in the Jeeves novels of British author P. G. Wodehouse. A British gentleman, member of the "idle rich" and the Drones Club, he appears alongside his gentleman's personal gentleman, Jeeves, whose genius manages to extricate Bertie or one of his friends from numerous awkward situations. As the first-person narrator of ten novels and over 40 short stories, Bertie ranks as one of the most vivid comic creations in popular literature.
Bertie is an orphan and has only one known sibling, a sister mentioned in "Bertie Changes His Mind", who in turn has three daughters, none of whom are named.
He has at least two aunts and four uncles from the Wooster family, and at least one aunt by marriage and three uncles by marriage.
An aunt by marriage, Aunt Julia, appears only in the first Jeeves story, Extricating Young Gussie, but is mentioned by Bertie occasionally. Aunt Julia is the widow of Bertie's Uncle Cuthbert, who was described as "the late head of the family."
The other three uncles who come into the stories are Henry Wooster, a "looney", whom the family find a considerable embarrassment; George, Lord Yaxley, who has a fondness for waitresses; and Willoughby Wooster. The three uncles-by-marriage are Tom Travers, Aunt Dahlia's husband; Spenser Gregson, Aunt Agatha's first husband; and Percy Craye, Earl of Worplesdon, her second.
Among Bertie's cousings, Henry's twin sons, Claude and Eustace, play significant roles in several stories, as do Aunt Dahlia's children, Angela and Bonzo Travers, and Aunt Agatha's young son, Thomas Gregson, nicknamed "Thos". Bertie also has a cousin named Gussie, the son of Uncle Cuthbert and Aunt Julia. Gussie appears only in Extricating Young Gussie, and his and Bertie's last name is given as "Mannering-Phipps" in that story.
At first, Bertie was dependant on his Uncle Willoughby for financial support, but upon his uncle's death, Bertie inherits a vast fortune. Despite being financially independent, he is perpetually afraid of his Aunt Agatha, calling her the "Scourge of the Woosters" in private, who considers him "a spineless invertebrate" and a burden on society.
Bertie's Aunt Dahlia, in contrast to that of her sister, Agatha, has a cordial relationship with him, often inviting him to stay at her country estate, Brinkley Court, which Bertie is most happy to do as he has a fondness for her chef Anatole's cooking. She often uses the threat of banning Bertie from Brinkley Court, and the offerings of Anatole, to bend him to her will. For instance, in the novel The Code of the Woosters, Bertie is obliged to steal a silver cow creamer (a small ornamental milk pitcher) for his Aunt Dahlia, who wants it for her husband Tom Travers, Bertie's Uncle Tom's collection. The cow creamer was being held for Uncle Tom, but was purchased by Sir Watkyn Bassett (a rival collector and the magistrate who fined Bertie five pounds for stealing a policeman's helmet one Boat Race Night) using underhand means. Bertie is forced to ask Madeline Bassett for an invitation and goes through a harrowing experience at Totleigh Towers, but is ultimately successful in repossessing the cow creamer, with considerable assistance from Jeeves.
Bertie's middle name "Wilberforce" is the doing of his father, who won money on a horse named Wilberforce in the Grand National the day before Bertie was born and insisted on Bertie carrying that name (mentioned by Aunt Dahlia in Much Obliged, Jeeves).
Template:Unreferenced Bertie has been given a first-rate British establishment education, having been schooled at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. However, the little he may have learned has mostly escaped him by the time he narrates the Jeeves tales. Standard characters and passages of English literature are typically recalled with scarcely more detail than "Tum-tum, tum-tum, tum-tumty-tum, I slew him, tum-tum tum!". Bertie typically fails to recognise Shakespeare when it is quoted to him by Jeeves. The most that he seems to have retained from his Oxford days is a skill in stealing policemen's helmets.
His earlier school days were just as fraught with misunderstanding and misfortune as his later ones. About all that has stuck with him are attachments to former classmates such as Bingo Little, Tuppy Glossop, and Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright, who cause Bertie more trouble than comfort. Although Bertie claims to have memorised a list of the Kings of Judah in order to win a Scripture prize as a youngster, Gussie Fink-Nottle insists that Bertie cheated.
Bertie appears to have read a fair amount of the Bible and in fact, was stated in several books to have won the Scripture Knowledge prize while at Aubrey Upjohn's Malvern House Preparatory School, although his Aunt Dahlia maintains that he "must have cribbed". This was also stated by Gussie Fink-Nottle when he presented the prizes at the Market Snodsbury Grammar School prize-giving while intoxicated. Many of the stories contain Biblical allusions, some of which are included in Bertie's narrative, and some of which are uttered by Bertie in dialogue with other characters. As with the rest of his education, Bertie frequently uses only partial quotes, and the situations for which he uses them are completely incongruous with the original meaning. For instance, in one story, Bertie is trying desperately to avoid Honoria Glossop's female cousin, who appears to be quite interested in him. Bertie complains that "Old Sticketh Closer than a Brother" won't leave him alone. The verse that Bertie almost quotes (Proverbs 18:24) actually praises the value of close friends. Bertie uses the partial quote as a pejorative to complain about someone who is not a friend.
Nevertheless, Bertie is among the more intelligent and wealthy members of the Drones Club, where many of his friends such as Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps and Gussie Fink-Nottle are positively remedial. Many plotlines involve Bertie trying to solve a problem with schemes which, while usually good in themselves, are subject to Murphy's Law with amusing effects.
Template:Unreferenced Bertie never marries, but does become engaged in nearly every story and novel. In the early years he is rather given to sudden and short-lived infatuations, under the influence of which he proposes to Florence Craye (in Jeeves Takes Charge, the second story in terms of publication and the first in the internal timeline of the books), Pauline Stoker, and Bobbie Wickham. In all of these cases, he rethinks the charms of the holy state and a "lovely profile" upon a closer understanding of the personalities of the girls in question. However, having already received a proposal from him, each assumes in her own way that she has an open invitation to marry Bertie whenever she has a spat with her current fiancé. Madeline Bassett and Honoria Glossop are similarly deluded, though in their cases Bertie was attempting to plead the case of a friend (Gussie Fink-Nottle and Bingo Little respectively) but was misinterpreted as confessing his own love. In all of these cases, Bertie feels himself honour-bound to agree to the marriage out of fear of being ungallant and hurting the girl's feelings. He often cites his determination to act as a preux chevalier, and observes that "one is either preux or one isn't". In the later stories and novels, Bertie regards engagement solely as a dire situation from which Jeeves must extricate him.
Aunt Agatha is of the opinion that Bertie, whom she believes to be a burden to society in his present state, must marry and carry on the Wooster name; furthermore, he must marry a girl capable of moulding his personality and compensating for his many defects. (Interestingly, though, in the short story Jeeves Takes Charge, Lady Florence Craye tells Bertie that his Aunt Agatha "called you a spineless invertebrate and advised me strongly not to marry you". Aunt Agatha later marries Florence's father Lord Worplesdon, and Florence begins to call Agatha "mother", to Bertie's bemusement, so evidently the two terrifyingly imperious females feel some sort of spiritual kinship.) This prospect mortifies Bertie, not least because it would mean he and Jeeves would have to part ways.
When Bertie caught his valet Meadowes stealing his silk socks, he sacked him and sent for another from the agency. Jeeves, arriving in Jeeves Takes Charge, mixes Bertie a hangover cure (Summing both the book and the TV Episode, this comprises an egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon oil, a hefty portion of cognac [Brandy] and perhaps a final ingredient of a chili-based concoction such as Tabasco Sauce) of his own invention and is hired almost immediately. According to the latter book, Bertie is twenty-four when he hires Jeeves. Thereafter, Bertie cedes much of the control of his life to Jeeves, clashing occasionally on matters of dress. When Jeeves expresses disapproval of a particular article of Bertie's clothing, be it a brightly-colored cummerbund, a check suit, purple socks, white mess jacket, various hats or even a moustache, it is certain that it will be disposed of by the end of the story, sometimes after a period of coolness between the two.
Jeeves frequently displays apparent mastery over a vast range of subjects from philosophy (his favourite philosopher is Spinoza) to an encyclopaedic knowledge of poetry, science, history, psychology, geography, politics and literature. In one particular instance, he goes to the extent of breaking a vase he disliked which had been purchased by Bertie. He is also a 'bit of a whizz' in all matters pertaining to gambling, car maintenance, etiquette and women. However his most impressive feats are a flawless knowledge of the British Aristocracy and making antidotes (esp. for hangovers). His mental prowess is attributed to eating fish, according to Bertie, and the latter often offers the dish to Jeeves.
Among Bertie's many reasons for not wanting to marry are his dislike of children and that all of his fiancées seem to have an aversion to Jeeves, insisting that Bertie sack him after their wedding. More importantly Jeeves is disagreeable to the prospect of his master's matrimonial alliance, as any prospective wife would likely dethrone him as the "true master" of the Wooster household. Because of this, he manages to steer Bertie out of every close relationship, sometimes against Bertie's will. Aunt Agatha also disapproves strongly of Jeeves's influence on Bertie, seeing his position as Bertie's "keeper" as further proof of self-insufficiency and unwillingness to take responsibility. Bertie's Aunt Dahlia, on the other hand, is extremely impressed by Jeeves's intelligence and is often party to his clever schemes.
Bertie has several friends who keep popping into his life mostly for Jeeves' help. A list of those who play major roles are:
- Hildebrande "Tuppy" Glossop, who once challenged Bertie to swing across the pool in the Drones club and looped the rope across the last ring thereby ensuring Bertie had to jump into the pool with all his clothes. He is the cousin of Bertie's sometime fiancée, Honoria Glossop, and is usually engaged to Bertie's cousin Angela.
- Augustus "Gussie" Fink-Nottle, who keeps newts and has a face like a fish.
- Richard "Bingo" Little, who had the penchant of falling in love with every girl he met before finally marrying Rosie M. Banks.
- Rev. Harold P. "Stinker" Pinker, Curate of Totleigh-in-the-Wold. Pinker is consistently clumsy except when playing rugby as a prop forward.
- Freddie Widgeon
- Harold Winship, Stands for Parliament as the Conservative candidate in Market Snodsbury.
- Beefy Bingham, Parson in the East End
- Marmaduke "Chuffy" Chuffington, the young landowner of Chuffnell Regis, an estate he tries to sell.
- George "Sippy" Sipperly, an author who is arrested for assaulting the police on boat race night.
- Claude "Catsmeat" Potter-Pirbright, an old school friend of Bertie's.
- "Biffy" Bickersteff
- Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringay-Phipps
Bertie belongs to the Drones Club, and many of these characters are fellow members and appear in the separate Wodehouse "Drones Club" series of stories. Bertie is also acquainted with Lord Emsworth, another of Wodehouse's best-known characters, and mentions having visited Blandings Castle.
Bertie also has several adversaries who are constantly suspicious of him and on occasion, threaten him. Among them are:
- G. d'Arcy "Stilton" Cheesewright - who is engaged to Florence Craye; and threatens to break Bertie's spine in three, four or five pieces when he suspects him of flirting with Florence
- Lord Sidcup (Roderick Spode) - is in love with Madeline Bassett and had been since their shared childhood. He threatens Bertie when he believes Bertie to be toying with her affections or breaking her heart.
A running joke in the series is that several of Bertie's friends, specifically Gussie Fink-Nottle, Cyril Bassington-Bassington, and Oofy Prosser, are described as having faces like fish.
With a single exception, all the Bertie Wooster stories are told in the first person by Bertie himself. This perspective allows Wodehouse a comedic paradox: although Bertie himself is, as Jeeves puts it, "mentally negligible", his descriptive style employs a considerable facility with English.
Bertie displays a fondness for pre-war slang, peppering his speech with words and phrases such as "What ho!", "pipped", "bally", and so on. He also commonly abbreviates words and phrases, such as "eggs and b." As the years pass, popular references from film and literature would also feature in his narratives.
Depictions outside the Wodehouse stories
In the Granada Television series, Bertie is depicted as being a very capable pianist and singer. He often plays and sings show tunes and popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s, including the songs "Nagasaki", "Puttin' on the Ritz", "Minnie the Moocher", and "You Do Something to Me".
In the fictional biography "Jeeves: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman" by Northcote Parkinson, Bertie comes into the title of Lord Yaxley upon the death of his uncle George Wooster, marries Bobbie Wickham and makes Jeeves the landlord of the Angler's Rest pub, which is on the Yaxley estate. Jeeves then supplants Mr Mulliner as the resident expert and storyteller of the pub.
Bertie's foppish foolishness was not popular with everyone. Papers released by the Public Record Office have disclosed that when Wodehouse was recommended for a Companion of Honour in 1967, Sir Patrick Dean, British ambassador in Washington, argued that it "would also give currency to a Bertie Wooster image of the British character, which we are doing our best to eradicate".
- Film and TV actors
- David Niven, the only actor to play Bertie in a theatrical film, in Thank You, Jeeves (1935). This film bore almost no resemblance to Wodehouse's fiction, and portrayed Bertie as a woman chaser, the opposite of the usual situation in the stories.
- Ian Carmichael played the part of Bertie (opposite Dennis Price as Jeeves) in the earlier BBC World of Wooster (1965–1967).
- Hugh Laurie portrayed Bertie in the early-1990s ITV series Jeeves and Wooster opposite his long-time comedy partner, Stephen Fry, as Jeeves.
- Radio actors
- Terry-Thomas played Bertie in a dramatisation of "Jeeves Takes Charge" released as a record album in the 1960s.
- Richard Briers portrayed Bertie in BBC Radio 4 series What Ho, Jeeves! opposite Michael Hordern as Jeeves. The series ran occasionally from 1973 to 1981.
- Simon Cadell played Bertie opposite David Suchet as Jeeves in a BBC radio adaptation of The Code of the Woosters.
- Marcus Brigstocke played Bertie in a Radio 4 adaptation of The Code of the Woosters in 2006, with Andrew Sachs as Jeeves.
- Audiobook actors
- Wodehouse, 1916, "Jeeves Takes Charge". Florence Craye to Bertie: "If you fail, I shall know that your Aunt Agatha was right when she called you a spineless invertebrate and advised me strongly not to marry you."
- Wodehouse, 1934: "Thank You, Jeeves"
- Wodehouse, 1962: "Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves"
- BBC's World of Wooster (March 2007 Archive.org cache) at the BBC Comedy Guide (down as of October 2007[update])
- ITV's Jeeves and Wooster (March 2007 Archive.org cache) at the BBC Comedy Guide (down as of October 2007[update])
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