I enthusiastically endorse all that Charlie Cooke has to say about P.G Wodehouse:
I get funny looks when I say this, but I quite honestly believe that the only writer in history who has a better grasp on the English language than P.G. Wodehouse is William Shakespeare. As a general matter, they’re not comparable, of course, because, as wonderful as Wodehouse’s books are, they deal with nothing of consequence. But Wodehouse has a way with words that is not only unmatched, but that is so extraordinarily funny that the best lines stick around with you for years.
…Wodehouse is occasionally criticized for being so light, which he is. All told, his stories are mostly about idle rich people falling in and out of love and trying to hold on to their allowances. But what this misses, I think, is that it is precisely because the stakes are so low that there are so many opportunities for humor.
Last year, I took a collection of Wodehouse’s stories to give to a friend during his long hospital stay. The point of reading Wodehouse, I told him, is to delight in watching someone play with language. His sentences are like wonderful balloon animals, twisted into all sorts of surprising shapes. Yes, of course the stories are silly. In today’s cant, they’re not “inclusive” or “representative” of anyone but the idle rich in England between the wars. But it seems obvious to me that if one could reincarnate the soul of Pelham Grenville in a twenty-first century American, he would find a way to make the vernacular sing in the same way. As for the notion that humorous stories are somehow “lesser” than serious novels, eh, whatever. I have no interest in arguing the point with either insecure young men or stuffy old professors. I think everyday life brings enough matters “of consequence” to bear on us without our needing to seek more out in our fiction.