FRIVOLOUS, EMPTY, AND PERFECTLY DELIGHTFUL
As for that anti-seriousness, who other than Wodehouse would describe a figure in one of his novels by saying that “if he had been a character in a Russian novel, he would have gone and hanged himself in a barn?”
Who but Wodehouse could mock the moral tradition of the English novel in a single phrase by writing in a novel of his own of “one of those unfortunate misunderstandings that are so apt to sunder hearts, the sort of thing that Thomas Hardy used to write about?”
Who but he, through the creation in his novel Leave it to Psmith of a poet named Ralston McTodd, would find humor in the hopeless obscurity of much modern poetry? Only Wodehouse would have the always-to-be trusted Jeeves instruct Bertie Wooster about Nietzsche: “He is fundamentally unsound, sir.”
Or have Bertie disqualify a young woman because after 16 sets of tennis and a round of golf she expected one in the evening “to take an intelligent interest in Freud.”
Who but Wodehouse would say about a character whom he clearly doesn’t admire that he “was an earnest young man with political ambitions given, when not slamming [tennis balls] over the net, to reading white papers and studying social conditions”—thus flicking off politics as a time-wasting, if not altogether fatuous, preoccupation.
At a lower level of anti-seriousness, Wodehouse amusingly mocked crime fiction, crossword puzzles, and antique collecting.