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From Jeeves to His Dark Materials: Philip Pullman's first encounter with Wodehouse

  The following Christmas, I remember, my stepgrandparents gave me the first Jeeves I'd ever encountered. No preparation - that's the way to do it. If you tell someone that there's this marvellous book, oh it's so funny, you'll laugh all day, I can't tell you how amusing it is, there's this story where...You'll hate it before you start. It hasn't got a chance. Don't say a word: just hand it over, and hold your tongue. So, with no helpful advice, never having heard of Jeeves or Bertie Wooster or P.G. Wodehouse, I unwrapped the modest-looking paperback called Very Good, Jeeves, and started to read. This was fifty-nine years ago, and I'm still reading Wodehouse, still laughing, still entranced by the fountain-like brilliance of the style, and increasingly, now, marvelling not so much at the cleverness of Jeeves as at the miracle of a hero who is faultlessly good and yet so delightful company. Bertie's only flaw is the most forgivable and har

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