10. November 2005

"Fundamentally Unsound"

Darf man das, was P.G. Wodehouse tat: Geschichten, Romane schreiben, die nur Oberfläche sind - das aber perfekt? In glänzendem Stil, aber ohne Tiefgang, ohne ernste Absichten - und sei es nur mit der, die Welt zu verbessern?

Joseph Bottum hat unter dem Titel "God & Bertie Wooster" in First Things eine großartige Würdigung des großen Humoristen publiziert.

"The story 'Jeeves Takes Charge' begins with Bertie Wooster engaged to Florence Craye, an intellectual young woman whose idea of preparing Bertie for marriage is to insist he read books with titles like Types of Ethical Theory. This isn’t the simple young man’s cup of tea, of course, but Bertie is besotted, for, 'seen sideways,' Florence is 'most awfully good looking.' And so, as in any such story, the vital job of Bertie’s loyal valet, Jeeves, must be to ensure the inappropriate engagement is broken off. 'It was her intention to start you almost immediately upon Nietzsche,' the successful Jeeves explains at the story’s end. 'You would not like Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound.'

And, really, that’s the point. Nietzsche is fundamentally unsound for a variety of reasons that will occur to the theologically minded. But here is another and possibly more telling proof of his unsoundness: Bertie Wooster, one of the great innocents in literature, wouldn’t like at all to have to read him, no matter how alluring Florence Craye is in profile. The best answer to Friedrich Nietzsche we’ve managed yet to come up with is the prose of P.G. Wodehouse."
Dem skeptischen Wodehouse-Neuling, der nicht weiß, ob er sich so viel Leichtigkeit antun soll und darf, sei die vorherige Lektüre von "Draußen im Dunkel" ("Outer Dark") von Cormac McCarthy empfohlen: ein Roman, so düster, daß dagegen sogar schwarz noch rosa ist. Er wird sich nach Wodehouse sehnen!

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