colour = #DDD
name = Jeeves
caption = Jeeves, as portrayed in 1990 by
Stephen Fryin "Jeeves and Wooster".
first = 1915, in the story "
Extricating Young Gussie"
last = 1974, in the novel "
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen"
gender = Male
Valetof Bertie Wooster
relatives = Charlie Silversmith (uncle), and more
Dennis Price(1965), Stephen Fry(1990-1993),
P. G. Wodehouse
Jeeves is a
valet, not a butler; a valet serves his employer as a person, whereas a butler serves his employer's house. However, Bertie Wooster has lent Jeeves out as a butler on several occasions, and notes that "if the call comes, he can buttle with the best of them"." Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves", 1963
The essential concept that drives the Jeeves stories is that the brilliant valet is firmly in control of his rich and foppish young employer's life. Much of the comic effect derives from the fact that the clueless Bertie Wooster, who narrates most of the stories, is for the most part blissfully unaware of how he is being manipulated. When Bertie gets into one of his scrapes, leading to an unwanted social obligation, legal trouble, or marriage engagement, Jeeves invariably comes up with a subtle plan to save the day, often without Bertie's knowledge.
Jeeves is known for his convoluted, yet precise, speech and for quoting from Shakespeare and famous romantic poets. In his free time, he likes to relax with "improving" books such as the complete works of
Spinoza, or to read "Dostoy evsky and the great Russians" [« "My personal tastes lie more in the direction of Dostoyevsky and the great Russians." » (Jeeves, in " Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit", chapter four.)] . He "glides" or "shimmers" in and out of rooms and may appear or disappear suddenly and without warning. His potable concoctions, both of the alcoholic and the morning-after variety, are legendary.
Jeeves frequently displays apparent mastery over a vast range of subjects : from philosophy (his favourite philosopher is
Spinoza) to an encyclopaedic knowledge of poetry, science, history, psychology, geography, politics and literature. He is also a 'bit of a whizz' in all matters pertaining to gambling, car maintenance, etiquette and women. However his most impressive feats are a flawless knowledge of the British Aristocracy and making antidotes (esp. for hangovers). His mental prowess is attributed to eating fish, according to Bertie, and the latter often offers the dish to Jeeves.
Jeeves has distinct opinions about certain items that Bertie adopts, such as a
moustache, monogrammed handkerchiefs, a straw boater, an alpine hat, a scarlet cummerbund, spats in the Eton colours, white dinner jacket, or purple socks. Bertie's decision to take up playing the banjolelein " Thank You, Jeeves" almost led to a permanent rift between the two. Should Jeeves express his disapproval for an accessory of Bertie's, it is certain that his charge will reluctantly dispose of it in some way or another before the end of the story, or will announce his intention to do so only to find Jeeves has already "taken the liberty" of discarding it himself.
Jeeves is a member of the
Junior Ganymede Club, a club for butlers and valets, in whose club book all members must write down all the exploits of their employers. Thus, butlers and valets can be forewarned before taking up employment with the more infamous employers mentioned in the club book. The section labeled 'WOOSTER B' is the largest in the book. In " Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit" it contained "eleven pages"In " Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit", chapter four., and by " Much Obliged, Jeeves" it has grown to "eighteen pages"« " [...] As a rule, a few lines suffice. Your eighteen pages are quite exceptional." — "Eighteen? I thought it was eleven." — "You are omitting to take into your calculations the report of your misadventures at Totleigh Towers [...] " » (Jeeves and Bertie, in " Much Obliged, Jeeves", chapter one.). However, at the end of "Much Obliged, Jeeves", Jeeves informs Bertie that he has destroyed the eighteen pages, anticipating that he will never leave the latter's employment, thus eliminating the need to inform prospective valets about his employer's quirks; Bertie's answer provides the book with its name.
Only once in the Wodehouse canon does Jeeves appear without Bertie: "
Ring for Jeeves", in which he is on loan to the 9th Earlof Rowcester while Bertie attends a school where the idle rich learn self-sufficiency in case of social upheaval. The novel was adapted from Wodehouse's play "Come On, Jeeves", which he felt needed a more conventional ending, but was unwilling to marry off Bertie.
Jeeves's first job was as a
page boyat a girls' school, after which he had at least eleven other employers. Before entering the employ of Bertie Wooster, he was with Lord Worplesdon, resigning after nearly a year because of Worplesdon's eccentric choice of evening dress; Mr Digby Thistleton (later Lord Bridgenorth), who sold hair tonic; Mr Montague Todd, a financier who was in the second year of a prisonterm when Jeeves mentioned him to Bertie; Lord Brancaster, who gave port-soaked seedcake to his pet parrot; and Lord Frederick Ranelagh, swindled in Monte Carloby the reappearing character Soapy Sid. His tenure with Bertie contained several gaps, during which he was employed elsewhere: he worked for Lord Rowcester for the length of "Ring for Jeeves"; Marmaduke 'Chuffy' Chuffnell for a week in " Thank You, Jeeves", after giving notice due to Bertie's unwillingness to quit playing the banjolele; J. Washburn Stoker for a short period; Gussie Fink-Nottle, who masqueraded as Bertie in "The Mating Season"; and Sir Watkyn Bassettas a trick to get Bertie released from prison in " Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves".
Jeeves's first name of Reginald was not revealed until the penultimate novel in the series, "Much Obliged, Jeeves" (1971), when Bertie hears a "Hullo, Reggie" greeting Jeeves. The readers may have been surprised to learn Jeeves's first name, but Bertie was stunned by the revelation "that he had a first name" in the first place. [« "Hullo, Reggie," he said, and I froze in my chair, stunned by the revelation that Jeeves's first name was Reginald. It had never occurred to me before that he had a first name. » (Bertie about Bingley greeting Jeeves, in "
Much Obliged, Jeeves", chapter four.)]
The Jeeves type of a sagacious sarcastic styled servant has become a modern archetype which probably inspired most later similar characters, from
Dorothy L. Sayers's 1923 manservant Mervyn Bunter"Sayers admitted having partially based Bunter's character on P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves" at Mervyn Bunter., to Batman's 1943 butler Alfred, to Wodehouse fan Isaac Asimov's 1971 waiter Henry of the Black Widowersclub, [Cite book
author = Asimov, Isaac
year = 1994
chapter = 120. The Trap Door Spiders
location = New York
publisher = Doubleday
id = ISBN 0-385-41701-2] to
Joseph Marcell's Geoffrey of the Banks residence on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Jeeves's propensity for wisdom and knowledge is so well known that it inspired the original name of the Internet search website Ask.com (called AskJeeves from 1996 to 2006). In the twenty-first century, a "" is a generic term (in the fashion of "a ") for any useful and reliable person in dictionaries such as the
Oxford English Dictionary[Cite web
author = Ring, Tony
date = 2000?
title = "Jeeves and Wooster March Into The Twenty-first Century"
work = Wodehouse.ru
url = http://wodehouse.ru/march.htm
accessdate = 2007-08-15
quote = The frequency with which the term 'Jeeves' is used without further explanation in the media of today, and its inclusion as a generic term in the Oxford English Dictionary, suggests that P G Wodehouse's Jeeves, together with his principal employer Bertie Wooster, remain the most popular of his many enduring characters.] or the Encarta World English Dictionary. [Cite web
author = Encarta World English Dictionary
date = 2007 copyright
title = "Jeeves"
work = Encarta.msn.com
url = http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/Jeeves.html
accessdate = 2007-08-15
quote = Jeeves [ jeevz ] , noun - Definition: resourceful helper: a useful and reliable person who provides ready solutions to problems ( informal ) [Mid-20th century. < a character in the novels of P. G. Wodehouse] ]
Wodehouse's work is often divided according to certain recurring characters and settings; the stories and novels about Bertie and Jeeves are often called "the Jeeves canon" or simply "the Jeeves books".
The concept which eventually became Jeeves actually preceded Bertie in Wodehouse's mind: he had long considered the idea of a butler — later a valet — who could solve any problem. A character named
Reggie Pepper, who was in all respects very much like Bertie but without Jeeves, was the protagonist of seven short stories; Wodehouse soon decided to rewrite the Pepper stories, switching Reggie's character to Bertie Wooster and combining him with an ingenious valet. In his 1953 semi-autobiographical book with Guy Bolton" Bring on the Girls!", Wodehouse suggests that Jeeves was based on an actual butler called Eugene Robinson that he employed for the purpose of study, and recounts a story where Robinson extricated Wodehouse from a real-life predicament; he also says that he named his Jeeves after Percy Jeeves(1888-1916), a then-popular English cricketer for Warwickshire. Percy Jeeves was killed at the Battle of the Sommeduring the attack on High Woodin July 1916, two months before the first appearance of the eponymous butler who would make his name a household word.
The Jeeves and Wooster canon was written between 1915 and 1974, and includes Wodehouse's last completed novel, "
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen". Bertie narrates all the stories but two, "Bertie Changes His Mind" (which Jeeves himself narrates), and " Ring for Jeeves" (which features Jeeves but not Bertie and is written in the third person). The stories are set in three primary locations: London, where Bertie has a flat and is a member of the raucous Drones Club; various stately homes in the English countryside, most commonly Totleigh Towersor Brinkley Court; or New York City and a few other locations in the United States. All take place in a timeless world based on an idealized vision of Englandbefore World War II. Only " Ring for Jeeves" mentions World War II.
Jeeves and Bertie first appeared in "
Extricating Young Gussie", a short story published in September 1915, in which Jeeves's character is minor and not fully developed and Bertie's surname appears to be Mannering-Phipps. The first fully recognizable Jeeves and Bertie story was " The Artistic Career of Corky", published in early 1916. In the later stories, Jeeves assumed the role of Bertie's co-protagonist; indeed, their meeting was told in November 1916 in " Jeeves Takes Charge". In recent years, they have come to be called a comic duo.
The Jeeves canon consists of 35 short stories and 11 novels (or 24 short stories and 12 novels, depending on whether "The Inimitable Jeeves" is considered a novel or a collection of linked stories):
The Man With Two Left Feet" (1917) — One story in a book of thirteen
Extricating Young Gussie" — The first appearances of Jeeves and Bertie
My Man Jeeves" (1919) — Four stories in a book of eight, all four reprinted in "Carry on, Jeeves". The non-Jeeves stories feature Reggie Pepper.)
** ("Leave It to Jeeves", was reprinted in "Carry on, Jeeves" as "The Artistic Career of Corky")
** ("Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest", was reprinted in "Carry on, Jeeves")
** ("Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg", was reprinted in "Carry on, Jeeves")
** ("The Aunt and the Sluggard", was reprinted in "Carry on, Jeeves")
The Inimitable Jeeves" (1923) — Originally a semi-novel with eighteen chapters, it is normally published as eleven short stories:
** "Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum" with "No Wedding Bells for Bingo" (together "
Jeeves in the Springtime")
** "Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind" with "Pearls Mean Tears" (together "Aunt Agatha Takes the Count")
** "The Pride of the Woosters Is Wounded" with "The Hero's Reward" (together "Scoring Off Jeeves")
** "Introducing Claude and Eustace" with "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch" (together "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch")
** "A Letter of Introduction" with "Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant" (together "Jeeves and the Chump Cyril")
** "Comrade Bingo" with "Bingo Has a Bad Goodwood" (together "
** "The Great Sermon Handicap"
** "The Purity of the Turf"
** "The Metropolitan Touch"
** "The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace"
** "Bingo and the Little Woman" with "All's Well" (together "Bingo and the Little Woman")
Carry on, Jeeves" (1925) — Ten stories:
Jeeves Takes Charge" – Recounts the first meeting of Jeeves and Bertie
** "The Artistic Career of Corky", a rewrite of "Leave It to Jeeves", originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
** "Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest", originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
** "Jeeves and the Hard-boiled Egg", originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
** "The Aunt and the Sluggard", originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
** "The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy"
** "Without the Option"
** "Fixing It for Freddie", a rewrite of a Reggie Pepper story, "Helping Freddie", originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
** "Clustering Round Young Bingo"
** "Bertie Changes His Mind" — The only story in the canon narrated by Jeeves
Very Good, Jeeves" (1930) — Eleven stories:
** "Jeeves and the Impending Doom"
** "The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy"
** "Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit" (US title: "Jeeves and the Yuletide Spirit")
** "Jeeves and the Song of Songs"
** "Episode of the Dog McIntosh" (US title: "Jeeves and the Dog McIntosh")
** "The Spot of Art" (US title: "Jeeves and the Spot of Art")
** "Jeeves and the Kid Clementina"
** "The Love That Purifies" (US title: "Jeeves and the Love That Purifies")
** "Jeeves and the Old School Chum"
** "The Indian Summer of an Uncle"
** "The Ordeal of Young Tuppy" (US title: "Tuppy Changes His Mind")
Thank You, Jeeves" (1934) — The first full-length Jeeves novel
Right Ho, Jeeves" (1934) (US title: "Brinkley Manor")
The Code of the Woosters" (1938)
* "Joy in the Morning" (1946) (US title: "Jeeves in the Morning")
* "The Mating Season" (1949)
* ("Come On, Jeeves" — 1952 play with
Guy Bolton, adapted 1953 into "Ring for Jeeves", produced 1954, published 1956)
Ring for Jeeves" (1953) — Only novel without Bertie (US title: "The Return of Jeeves"), adapting the play "Come On, Jeeves"
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit" (1954) (US title: "Bertie Wooster Sees It Through")
A Few Quick Ones" (1959) — One short story in a book of ten
** "Jeeves Makes an Omelette", a rewrite of a Reggie Pepper story originally published in "My Man Jeeves"
Jeeves in the Offing" (1960) (US title: "How Right You Are, Jeeves")
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves" (1963)
Plum Pie" (1966) — One short story in a book of nine
** "Jeeves and the Greasy Bird"
Much Obliged, Jeeves" (1971) (US title: "Jeeves and the Tie That Binds")
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen" (1974) (US title: "The Cat-nappers")
By chronological order on the first item of each sub-section:
There have been a few theatrical films based upon or inspired by Wodehouse's novels:-
* "Thank You, Jeeves" (1935) –
Arthur Treacheras Jeeves, and David Nivenas Bertie, meet a girl and help her brother stop two spies trying to get his secret plans. The film has almost nothing to do with the book of that title. Although Treacher looks the part, the script calls on him to play the character as unhelpful and rather unpleasant, with none of the trademark brilliance of the literary Jeeves.
* "Step Lively, Jeeves!" (1936) –
Arthur Treacheras Jeeves is conned by two swindlers who claim he has a fortune waiting for him in America, where Jeeves meets some gangsters. Bertie does not appear, Jeeves is portrayed as a naive bumbler, and the film has nothing to do with any Wodehouse story.
By Jeeves" (2001) – A recorded performance of the musical, released as a video (with UK Martin Jarvisas Jeeves, and U.S. John Schereras Bertie). It was also aired on TV.
* "Arthur" (1981) - A film loosely based on the Jeeves and Bertie characters. It is not based on any actual Jeeves novel or short story.
* "Come On, Jeeves" (opened 1954, still played from time to time
as of 2007under its name or as "Ring for Jeeves") – A 1952 play by Guy Boltonand Wodehouse (adapted into the 1953 novel " Ring for Jeeves"), opened 1954 in Worthing, England(cast unknown), published in 1956.
* "The World of Wooster" (
30 May 1965to 17 November 1967, 20 episodes of 30 minutes) – A half-hour comedy series for BBC1(with Dennis Priceas Jeeves, and Ian Carmichaelas Bertie, plus Derek Nimmoplaying Bingo Little). The 1967 run was " Blandings Castle".
Jeeves and Wooster" ( 22 April 1990to 20 June 1993, 23 episodes of 55 minutes) – A hit ITVseries starring double-act Fry and Laurie(with Stephen Fryas Jeeves, and Hugh Laurieas Bertie).
* "Jeeves" (
22 April 1975to 24 May 1975, 38 performances) – An unsuccessful musical loosely based on Wodehouse, opened in London (with Michael Aldridgeas Jeeves, and David Hemmingsas Bertie).
By Jeeves" ( 1 May 1996to 12 February 1997; 28 October 2001to 30 December 2001, 73 performances) – A more successful complete rewrite of the former, opened in London (with Malcolm Sinclairas Jeeves, and Steven Paceyas Bertie), and made it to the U.S. in November 1996 (with U.S. Richard Klineas Jeeves, and U.S. John Schereras Bertie). It was produced again in 2001 for Broadway (with UK Martin Jarvisas Jeeves, and U.S. John Schereras Bertie), with one recorded performance released as a video film and aired on TV.
What Ho, Jeeves!" (1972 to 1981) – A popular BBC Radio 4series adapting various Jeeves stories (with Michael Hordernas Jeeves, and Richard Briersas Bertie).
* "The Code of the Woosters" (2006) – A
BBC Radio 4dramatization of " The Code of the Woosters" (with Andrew Sachsas Jeeves, and Marcus Brigstockeas Bertie).
* List of characters in the Jeeves stories
List of fictional butlers, also including once-butler valets such as Jeeves
primary sources consulted
All Jeeves books are relevant, but many key points are sourced from: "
Carry on, Jeeves" (1925, first meeting, poaching Anatole); " Ring for Jeeves" (1953, butler, WW2); " Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit" (1954, great Russians, eleven pages section); " Much Obliged, Jeeves" (1971, eighteen pages section, Reginald).
Secondary sources consulted
* Cite web
author = Kuzmenko, Michel (The Russian Wodehouse Society)
title = "Wodehouse books"
work = Bibliography
url = http://wodehouse.ru/bibeng.htm
accessdate = 2007-08-15
* Cite web
author = Reggie
date = 2007-03-16 update
title = "Wodehouse Who's Who: Jeeves"
work = Blandings, a Companion to the Works of P. G. Wodehouse
url = http://www.blandings.org.uk/who/Jeeves.htm
archiveurl = http://webcitation.org/query?date=2007-08-15&url=http://www.blandings.org.uk/who/Jeeves.htm
archivedate = 2007-08-15
* Cite book
author = Usborne, Richard
year = 2003
title = Plum Sauce: A P. G. Wodehouse Companion
location = New York
The Overlook Press
pages = pp. 81–93, 187
id = ISBN 1-58567-441-9
* Cite book
author = Wodehouse, P. G.
year = 1963
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
location = New York
Simon & Schuster
pages = pp. 1–2
id = ISBN 0-7432-0410-7
* Cite book
author = Parkinson, C. Northcote
origyear = 1979
year = 1981
title = Jeeves: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman
edition = U.S. edition
location = New York
St. Martin's Press
id = ISBN 0-312-44144-4 – Mock biography of Jeeves.
; TV adaptations
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070313002647/http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/w/worldofwoosterth_1299003415.shtml BBC's "World of Wooster"] (March 2007
Archive.orgcache) at the BBC Comedy Guide (down as of October 2007)
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070313131845/http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/articles/j/jeevesandwooster_1299001699.shtml ITV's "Jeeves and Wooster"] (March 2007
Archive.orgcache) at the BBC Comedy Guide (down as of October 2007)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Jeeves — steht für: Reginald Jeeves, eine Romanfigur des britisch amerikanischen Schriftstellers P. G. Wodehouse By Jeeves, ein Musical mit Musik von Andrew Lloyd Webber und Alan Ayckbourn Jeeves (ERP System), ein ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System … Deutsch Wikipedia
Jeeves — a character in many humorous stories by P. G. Wodehouse. Jeeves is the ↑valet (=male servant) of an ↑upper class young man called Bertie Wooster, and is a very patient, sensible man. Wooster depends on him a lot and he always manages to solve… … Dictionary of contemporary English
jeeves — jeeves; jeeves·i·an; … English syllables
Jeeves — [ dʒivz ] noun count BRITISH INFORMAL a man who is a personal servant for another man … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
Jeeves — personification of the perfect valet, 1930, from character in P.G. Wodehouse s novels … Etymology dictionary
Jeeves — Reginald Jeeves Personnage de fiction apparaissant dans Jeeves Origine Royaume Uni Genre Homme … Wikipédia en Français
Jeeves — UK [dʒiːvz] / US [dʒɪvz] noun [countable] Word forms Jeeves : singular Jeeves plural Jeeveses British informal a man who is a personal servant for another man • Etymology: From the name of Jeeves, the butler who appears in many stories by the… … English dictionary
Jeeves — the male servant of Bertie Wooster in the humorous stories of P G Wodehouse. Jeeves is the perfect example of an intelligent and efficient servant who remains calm and can solve any problem. * * * … Universalium
Jeeves — Recorded in several spellings including Jeaves, Jeeves, Geaves, and Geeves, this is a famous English surname of French origins. It is probably a metronymic, which is to say that it originates not from the fathers name sometime back in the 13th… … Surnames reference
Jeeves — noun a) derived from a diminutive of Genevieve. b) A fictional valet in the stories by . See Also: Jeevesian … Wiktionary