Wooster and the Reality Principle

Wodehouse’s books are light, and lightness is one of the qualities I esteem in any art. But they are not any less concerned with reality as it is lived. Here is Bertie Wooster’s favourite aunt, regaling him with some affectionate badinage:

‘I was trying to think who you reminded me of. Somebody who went about strewing ruin and desolation and breaking up homes which, until he came along, had been happy and peaceful. Attila is the man. It’s amazing,’ she said, drinking me in once more. ‘To look at you, one would think you were just an ordinary sort of amiable idiot – certifiable, perhaps, but quite harmless. Yet, in reality, you are a worse scourge than the Black Death. I tell you, Bertie, when I contemplate you I seem to come up against all the underlying sorrow and horror of life with such a thud that I feel as if I had walked into a lamp post.’

All I can say is slapstick is highest form of art, and the lowest, and to join those two limits is the right way.

Vassily Kandinsky, Delicate Tension 1923

Vassily Kandinsky, Delicate Tension 1923

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