Carry On Jeeves!

New York: George H. Doran Company, 1927 Stock Code: 133688
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First US edition, first printing, two years after the UK first. A collection of short stories which includes "Jeeves takes charge", chronicling the arrival of the famous butler in Bertie Wooster's life. This an exceptional association copy, inscribed on the front free endpaper by Wodehouse to his fellow lyricist, and then current collaborator, Ira Gershwin and his wife Leonore: "To Lea and Ira Gershwin, with every good wish from the author, in memory of all the meals we had in Suite 701 and all the lyrics we wrote together (not to mention the fifty-seven you did when I refused to work). Last day of Rosalie road-tour, Jan. 6 1928. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston, P. G. Wodehouse", signature accompanied by a small stickman wearing top hat.

Rosalie was a Flo Ziegfeld-produced musical comedy, developed from "a forty-two page telegram from bibulous Bill McGuire outlining a plot loosely based on the visit to New York of Queen Marie of Rumania whose backstage politics rank as the most byzantine of any show of the period" (Green, P. G. Wodehouse, p.111). The need for Guy Bolton to "improve" McGuire's libretto brought Wodehouse onto the scene, and the failure of Ziegfeld's first choice composers led to an emergency call to Sig Romberg, who could not spare enough time to complete the job alone, bringing George Gershwin on board, along, inevitably, with his brother Ira. Added to the mayhem of this triple duplication of librettists, composers, and lyricists, Ziegfeld also hired Marilyn Miller, his ex-mistress, as leading lady, who insisted on the presence of her new lover, the dancer Jack Donahue, in the cast. "Miraculously Rosalie was well received" (p. 113) going on to rack up over 300 performances at the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway.

The inscription dates from the out of town tryout for the show in Boston. In 1960 Ira reminisced about those times in a BBC interview: "I must tell you about this wonderful, charming man Wodehouse. We collaborated on the lyrics to Rosalie for Ziegfeld. We opened in Boston the place was very crowded with Harvard boys, there were a lot of standees, and we were overlong in the first act we were watching the show together at the back as I say we were running overlong, and the first act ended at twenty minutes to eleven, and the second act was due to start about ten minutes later, And I felt a tap on my shoulder from Wodehouse. I said 'What is it?' And he reached in his pocket for his Ingersoll watch and he said 'Ira, it's eleven o'clock, I must toddle off to bed.' And he left I've never heard of anybody leaving his own show on opening night at the start of the second act because he wanted to toddle off to bed". Gershwin became the "most vociferous of all Wodehouse's admirers", bemoaning the fact that "Wodehouse's talent in this field has never been fully recognized. As far as I'm concerned, no-one wrote more charming lyrics than he in the period from just before World War I to the Twenties. Certainly I admired him greatly, and in a letter to me he wrote that Richard Rodgers had sent him a telegram not only congratulating him on his 80th birthday but telling him how much Larry Hart, Oscar Hammerstein and Dick himself had been taught by Plum through the years" (p.106).

A wonderful association from Wodehouse's early career as a leading practitioner in the golden age of the Broadway Musical Comedy, winning the lifetime admiration of more widely acknowledged masters; a warmly evocative glimpse of the rackety world of overnight rewrites and room service.

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Octavo. Original brown finely-diapered cloth, titles to spine and front board. With supplied dust jacket. Small ticket of the famed Old Corner Book Store, Boston, to the front free endpaper.


A little rubbed, spine crumpled at the tail and chipped at the head, front hinge repaired, rear slightly cracked, text-block lightly browned, sympathetically supplied jacket shows wear commensurate with the book, very good.


McIlvaine A34b


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