Georgette Heyer – P.G. Wodehouse – Jane Austen

by |January 7, 2010

The grand SophyOrdinarily popular writers remain popular so long as there is air in their lungs. They must proclaim themselves great and when this is no longer possible, ie: when they die, their greatness ends.

Every once and a while a popular author’s fame outlives them. When this surprising thing happens there must be a re-examination of their work – did their earthly success blind critics from recognising their actual greatness?

Two authors whose continued popularity forces a reassessment are Georgette Heyer and P.G Wodehouse.

Georgette Heyer is the mother of all Regency Romance. It was Heyer and not Jane Austen, who created the genre, and who truly exploited its various possibilities. Like Austen’s novels, Heyer’s Regency Romances have endured well beyond the life of their author. They have succeeded despite having inspired a whole industry of writers to produce innumerable inferior imitations, novels that have clogged the market.

Those who love to read light-hearted, warm, witty, intelligent historical romance fiction, in fact, romance readers of all persuasions, have returned, time and again, to Heyer’s novels – to The Grand Sophy, Cotillion, Sylvester, Faro’s Daughter etc.

Thank you, JeevesLike Heyer, P.G. Wodehouse’s entertaining comedies have survived well beyond the death of their creator. They have even survived the oblivion of being out of print. Their reputation (laughter lingers longest), and the occasional copy found in a second-hand bookshop  kept the pilot light of Wodehouse’s fame alight.

Now back in print and in bright new covers, the comic genius who kept thousands of readers in stitches, will delight a whole new generation. The debt owed by English comedy to P.G. Wodehouse is immense. Reading Wodehouse again reveals just how much it owes. So many great one-liners, hysterical scenarios, comic characters find their origins here. Whether you’re experiencing Wodehouse’s Jeeves novels for the first time, or whether you’re returning for a second or third visit, you’ll be certain to find laughs on every page.

The world’s critics may be undecided about the worth of Georgette Heyer and P.G. Wodehouse but you will not be. Get reading now!

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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  • Steph

    January 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m not sure that I can agree with you that Georgette Heyer created the genre when she was born 127 years after Austen…?? I think you mean that she made it a popular genre whereas in Austen’s time it was contemporary fiction.

    • January 11, 2010 at 9:51 am

      Thank you for your comment.
      After writing and posting – Georgette Heyer is the mother of all Regency Romance. It was Heyer and not Jane Austen, who created the genre, and who truly exploited its various possibilities – I wondered whether I might be corrected.
      My failure was one of clarity – caused by the assumption that every one would agree with my cherished beliefs. All fanatics suffer from this.
      To my mind a Genre writer, like Heyer, is very different from a genius beyond compare, like Austen. To me this is obvious.
      Jane Austen’s legacy is far reaching – influencing, directly or indirectly, most writers, of all persuasions, since her day.
      While Heyer’s influence touches, primarily, the more narrow field of Regency Romance and Historical Fiction.
      Thank you for taking the time to draw my attention to my clumsy attempt to express myself.

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