Saturday, 28 January 2012

Responding to criticism

For what it’s worth, I like P G Wodehouse’s approach. When Sean O'Casey dubbed him English Literature’s performing flea, he took it as a compliment, pointing out that all the performing fleas he had worked with had been stout little troupers.  He even called a volume of his letters about writing Performing Flea.

In the introduction to Summer Lightning, he wrote: “A certain critic -- for such men, I regret to say, do exist -- made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained 'all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.' He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.”

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