P.G. Wodehouse

 

William Tell Told Again

 

Yep, it's Wodehouse retelling the story of William Tell. Unsurprisingly everyone talks in delightfully verbose euphemism: the evil Austrian tyrant is the model of the urbane villain, dispensing torture in the same cultured tones as he might tea. This isn't played to be chilling, but for laughs. Both his brutality & the vain Swiss rebelsí ineffectiveness are amusingly not quite screened behind a barrage of dignified expression.

 

I haven't read the original William Tell, but I get the impression Wodehouse has stuck pretty much with the essential plot. It's an exercise he pulls off capably, but it never really soars. Perhaps it would have resonated more as satire with readers more familiar with the contrasting original?

 

August 2007