This early vel, written in collaboration with a friend, is a fascinating curiosity which suggests that Wodehouse might have become a very different, experimental sort of writer, had he continued to write in the same vein. Using multiple narrators, playing with literary stereotypes and identities, it tells the story of an aspiring young writer, James Orlebar Cloyster, prepared to do almost anything, first for success and then for gratification. By making Cloyster a mild, affable young man of the sort so familiar in his later vels, Wodehouse creates a comic disparity between the character's lofty professions of virtue and his unscrupulous behaviour. As the story progresses, we realise that he is t unusual: all the main characters are unscrupulous in one way or ather, ready to cheat and lie in pursuit of their ends, hence the title of the book. Not George Washington contains many fine scenes, and Cloyster's narrative displays the calm mastery of story-telling Wodehouse had already made his own. If awkwardly executed, it is cleverly plotted, springing several surprises along the way. Clearly autobiographical in origin, it also invites readers to reflect on the nature of talent, fame, failure and success, villainy and hour - themes which continued to recur in the author's work for ather sixty years.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as 'Plum') wrote more than ninety novels and some three hundred short stories over 73 years. He is widely recognised as the greatest 20th-century writer of humour in the English language. Perhaps best known for the escapades of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, Wodehouse also created the world of Blandings Castle, home to Lord Emsworth and his cherished pig, the Empress of Blandings. His stories include gems concerning the irrepressible and disreputable Ukridge; Psmith, the elegant socialist; the ever-so-slightly-unscrupulous Fifth Earl of Ickenham, better known as Uncle Fred; and those related by Mr Mulliner, the charming raconteur of The Angler's Rest, and the Oldest Member at the Golf Club. In 1936 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for 'having made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the happiness of the world'. He was made a Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1939 and in 1975, aged 93, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine's Day.