Publication Order of Blandings Castle Books
|Something Fresh||(1915)||Description Book eBook|
|Summer Lightning||(1929)||Description Book eBook|
|Heavy Weather||(1933)||Description Book eBook|
|Blandings Castle and Elsewhere||(1935)||Description Book eBook|
|Lord Emsworth and Others||(1937)||Description Book eBook|
|Full Moon||(1947)||Description Book eBook|
|Pigs Have Wings||(1952)||Description Book eBook|
|Galahad at Blandings||(1964)||Description Book eBook|
|A Pelican at Blandings||(1969)||Description Book eBook|
|The World of Blandings||(1976)||Description Book eBook|
|Sunset at Blandings||(1977)||Description Book eBook|
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (popularly known as P.G. Wodehouse) was undoubtedly one of the best humorists of the twentieth century. Born in 1881 in England, Wodehouse spent most of his time in the US where he wrote comic fiction books and short stories. Over the duration of his writing career, Wodehouse created several fictional characters and sets that gained mainstream popularity among the public. One of his biggest creations was the Blandings Castle set that featured in a number of his books; including the Blandings Castle series. To date, it remains to be one of the most debated sets within the writing and art fraternities as people attempt to figure out whether it is based on an actual place or pure fiction. Whatever the case, it has managed to add immense value to the series. As a matter of fact, a television series with the name Blandings was adapted from Wodehouse’s Blandings Castle series.
The castle is located in England and is home to Lord Emsworth (Clarence Threepwood). The absent minded but charming old chap is the 9th Earl of Emsworth and resides in the mansion together with his family. His simple and at times petty obsessions (like his pig, Empress of Blandings) occupy pretty much all his time and make him oblivious to the melodrama of his family. Of all his ten sisters, all but Hermione look like the “daughter of a hundred earls”. The castle is also home to his sons, daughter, brother, friends, staff (like Sebastian Beach, the ever present butler who has served for eighteen years), and visitors who come from time to time.
The castle is also a setting for other stories and tales that features multiple other characters including Psmith and Sebastian Beach among others. It is surrounded by other structures and centers like the town of Much Matchingham, the hamlet of Blandings Parva, and at least nine pubs with the most notable and popular one being the Emsworth Arms. One of the most famous locations in the castle is the Yew Alley. It is where Angus McAllister, Lord Emsworth’s head gardener plots his devious schemes. It leads to a cottage where Psmith resided for a while as he pretended to be a poet when he was in fact stashing stolen jewelry. Lord Emsworth’s habit of taking brisk swims in the morning is made even more routine by the presence of a lake within the castle.
Most of the many guest houses are only known to exist but have never been used ever since the early years of Queen Elizabeth’s rule. But the Garden Room is undoubtedly a popular one as it is the most preferred guest room for prestigious guests. Despite its class, one can only get access to its balcony through a drainpipe. One of Lord Emsworth’s favorite rooms (particularly on wet days) is the library. It is where he entertains himself with country lore. Despite the wide selection at his disposal, he seems to enjoy The Care of the Pig more than any other. The Threepwood family and their friends need not worry about where to reside because the castle is always open for them at all times; of course except when it has been converted into a temporary prison called “Devil’s Island”. When used as a ground for young men and women to romance, the castle is known as “The Bastille”.
The castle is featured in eleven books and nine short stories; all of which make up the Blandings Castle series. The first book of the series is Something Fresh and was first published in 1915. Amidst the family drama that surrounds Lord Emsworth and other residents, Blandings Castle is beset with impostors and thieves. There are two of them and each one has deviously malicious motives. Baxter, Lord Emsworth’s secretary smells a rat and is intent on discovering why the relative peace and calm is constantly being interrupted. But he must do so without being interrupted by Freddie Threepwood’s lovey-dovey feelings that are obviously throwing the whole castle in limbo. The second book of the Blandings Castle series, Leave It to Psmith, is yet another classic that was first published in 1923. A charmer and gentleman at heart, Ronald Psmith finds it hard not to offer Eve Halliday an umbrella when she sees her without one on a rainy day. The problem is, he doesn’t have one himself so he picks one from the Drone Club’s umbrella rack and extends his goodwill gesture to the pretty lady who happens to be one of Lord Emsworth’s employees. When Lord Emsworth mistakes Psmith for Ralston McTodd, a poet, he if forced to assume the identity in order to make his way into the Blandings Castle and hopefully win Eve’s heart. Within no time, his criminal nature comes to the surface as he plots a plan to steal a priceless diamond necklace. But he has to deal with Baxter, the secretary who throws flower pots through windows.
The humorous series has been adapted into films, television series and even radio programs. The very first adaptation was in 1993 when Horace Hodges starred in a silent film adaptation of Summer Lightning. In 1967, the BBC ran six adaptations of the series under the title Blandings Castle. Ralph Richardson starred as Lord Emsworth while Meriel Forbes played Lady Constance. Others who were also featured include Stanley Holloway as Beach and Derek Nimmo who played Freddie. In 1995, Wodehouse’s Heavy Weather was made into a 95-minute movie that was screened on Christmas Eve in the UK and on 18th February the next year in the US. Among the stars were Peter O’Toole as Lord Emsworth, Roy Hudd as Beach, Richard Briers as Gally, Judy Parfitt as Lady Constance, and Samuel West as Monty Bodkin. In 2013, Guy Andrews adapted the series into a BBC television series that starred Jennifer Saunders, Timothy Spall, Mark Williams, and Tim Vine among other big names. The TV adaptation follows the book series almost precisely. It is set in 1929 and Lord Emsworth resides at Blandings Castle with his son Freddie, his sister Connie, multiple nephews and nieces, staff and a countless number of guests who can’t seem to use up all the guest rooms in the castle no matter how many they are. The series was renewed for a second season that premiered in 2014. In radio, BBC Radio 4 aired multiple adaptations that featured Richard Vernon and Ian Carmichael as Emsworth and Galahad respectively.
The Blandings Castle series is available in both text and audiobook format and is a definite must-read if you enjoy endless humor.Book Series In Order » Characters » Blandings Castle