Penguin Books. First published 1935.
Twelve wonderfully funny short stories, including the two outstanding Emsworth short tales - Pig-hoo-o-o-o-ey and Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend, the latter dubbed 'the perfect short story' by, I think, Alan Coren, formerly of Punch magazine. Also five stories about the Mulliners of Hollywood, in which we are made acquainted with the Hollywood bureaucracy, comprising, among others, Yes-men, Vice-Yessers, Nodders and Assistant Nodders. As described in various biographies of PGW, these stories are obviously based on his own experiences in Hollywood, where he was paid large sums of money to do virtually nothing but write and rewrite scripts for movies that were never produced. And though he considered this dishonest on his part, and it made him restive, his contract did not allow him to leave. And typically of him, he channeled all his anger and frustration into these hilarious stories (sharp satires really) and into several novels and maybe a couple of plays.
Analysing the politics of PGW would, in Evelyn Waugh's words, be like taking a spade to a souffle. But it is hard not to note his frequent characterisations of the 'proletariat' as somehow slightly incomplete people as compared to the aristocracy, especially in terms of their beliefs, their modes of speech, the topics they discuss, and their chief everyday concerns. In one of the present stories, the gardens and grounds of Blandings Castle are made open to the village public, most of whom are Lord Emsworth's tenants. This tradition irks him, and makes him bitterly complain about why strangers should make merry on his private grounds. There is however no consciousness of the fact that neither he nor his ancestors probably did very little to actually earn ownership of the Castle and the lands all around, and that in fact the whole situation is a hold-over from the unjust and feudal medieval times.
Anyway,as I said, one should not really criticize PGW for such lapses, if indeed they are lapses. The British Government and the British public made this mistake of being overly self-righteous, when, after World War II, they more or less blackballed him and 'cut him' and sent him into virtual exile in America. All this because he made a few funny broadcasts about his treatment by the Germans. And so, having got out of my system some 'perilous stuff weighing on my bosom' (to quote PGW quoting Shakespeare), I will now say that these stories, like about 90% of his writing, are wonderful, well worth reading again and again. And again.