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If Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge had a fiver for every dodgy scheme he has ever floated, he would be a rich man indeed. In these ten stories he tries every way of making money, from writing political slogans to opening a college for dogs. In his own eyes, Ukridge is a Great Man and a Visionary. In ours, he is English literature's most delightful chancer and one of Wodehouse's greatest comic creations: charming, ambitious, persuasive, optimistic and almost always disastrous. Sometimes supported by his rich Aunt Julia - but more often expelled from her house for his sins - he moves through the landscape in his eternal yellow mackintosh, dreaming of riches and borrowing shillings, an innocent abroad in a hostile world.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (always known as ‘Plum’) wrote about seventy novels and some three hundred short stories over seventy-three 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 ninety-three, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. He died shortly afterwards, on St Valentine’s Day.