Contented Reader

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The Swoop!

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The Swoop!

P.G. Wodehouse

Project Gutenberg

I’m engaged in a lengthy, slow-motion project to read ALL THE WODEHOUSE.  I might possibly finish before I die.  Or not.  The project has paid off today, because I never would have read this book if I hadn’t been simply working my way down the list of Wodehouse’s books in chronological order.

Today in class, my students took vocabulary tests, and while they were working, I graded the tests of previous classes and tried to maintain a positive attitude toward my life.  Not always easy to do while grading vocabulary tests.  When I finished a set, though, I rewarded myself with a chapter or two of The Swoop!.

It’s the story of an invasion of England by foreign armies.  This was written in 1909, long before the Battle of Britain, even before the first world war.  There was a vogue in England for speculative ‘invasion fiction,‘ novels that explore what would happen if England were invaded, and that cautioned that the nation was ill-prepared for such an event.

The Swoop! is a parody of this forgotten genre.  In this book, England is invaded by not one but nine competing armies.  For the most part, they go unnoticed, except to the extent that their invasion interferes with the cricket or the golf.  Their fiercest opponent is a Boy Scout named Clarence.

It’s exactly as funny as it sounds.

There are, of course, some of the unpleasant racial stereotypes you might expect to find in a book from this time and place.  I found them sad, but not so distracting that I couldn’t enjoy the book.

It made the vocabulary tests go down a little easier.

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Written by Contented Reader

September 25, 2012 at 7:06 am

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