Best Seller

by

P.G. Wodehouse

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Themes and Colors
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Best Seller, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Portrayal of Women

Egbert Mulliner, the protagonist of “Best Seller,” has one “pet aversion”: female novelists. As an assistant editor at The Weekly Booklover, Mulliner has to interview the female authors of best-selling novels, a task that drains and humiliates him because he sees literary women as vain, haughty, and delusional, and he considers their work unworthy. Mulliner would like to believe that his condescending attitude is the result of his superior taste, but as the story…

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The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions

Wodehouse’s humor highlights the ridiculousness of the social and literary conventions of romantic love. In moments of heightened emotion, Egbert and Evangeline play out the traditional roles of characters in a grand romance. However, each time their emotions swell, the narrator undercuts them with a moment of absurdity for comic effect. While this humor pokes fun at the characters’ sentimentality and mindless adherence to social conventions, the narrator seems fond of Egbert and Evangeline despite…

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Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art

Throughout the story, the narrator presents popular novels—and particularly novels written and enjoyed by women—as frivolous and unsophisticated. The reading public is portrayed as fickle, and popular taste as sentimental and clichéd. However, Wodehouse also gently mocks authors who have grand artistic aspirations. Finally, he bemoans the fact that poor popular taste and a profit-driven publishing industry make it difficult for high art to succeed.

The narrator clearly believes that popular novels are formulaic and…

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