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Defender of the Faith

C.H. Sisson, 16 February 1984

The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Donat Gallagher.
Methuen, 662 pp., £20, February 1984, 0 413 50370 4
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... Very occasionally it is worth noticing a bad book at some length’ – we have it on Evelyn Waugh’s own authority – ‘if only to give reputable publishers a reminder that they must not be insolent in what they try and put over on a public already stupefied by literary overproduction.’ The present case is not quite of the kind Waugh had in mind ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... On​ National Service in Cyprus in 1958, Auberon Waugh, having ‘miraculously’ become an officer, was sent out with his troop to cover the Nicosia-Kyrenia road between the Turkish village of Guenyeli and the Greek village of Autokoi. This was during the civil war at the time known as the Cyprus Emergency, and the aim of the mission was to prevent either village taking reprisals against the other ...

At Home in the Huntington

John Sutherland: The Isherwood Archive, 10 June 1999

... Writing in the Tablet in 1951, Evelyn Waugh described Christopher Isherwood as the best of those British writers who had ‘captured’ the Thirties. It was not, Waugh being Waugh, high praise. Auden he felt to be a mysterious cove comprehensible only to his pals (among whom Waugh did not number himself ...

Snooping

E.S. Turner, 1 October 1981

Nella Last’s War: A Mother’s Diary, 1939-45 
edited by Richard Broad and Suzie Fleming.
Falling Wall Press, 320 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 905046 15 3
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... and findings; respectable journals hailed a new form of social research, while others jeered; Evelyn Waugh complained of ‘pseudoscientific showmanship’. During World War Two a minute by an official in the Ministry of Home Security described Mass-Observation reports on blitz morale as ‘a most extraordinary mixture of fact, fiction and dangerous ...

Mrs Stitch in Time

Clive James, 4 February 1982

Lady Diana Cooper 
by Philip Ziegler.
Hamish Hamilton, 336 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 241 10659 1
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... about the way they admired her self-assurance, or what they thought was her self-assurance. Evelyn Waugh is the most prominent case in point. Far from being impressed by the creative gifts of well-born ladies, he wasn’t even impressed by his own. He wanted to be accepted as a gentleman, not as a genius. Turning the factual Lady Diana into a ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... Thame between the world wars, described himself in Who’s Who as ‘Pioneer Amateur Innkeeper’. Evelyn Waugh, sending him a copy of Decline and Fall, inscribed it to ‘Oxford’s only civilising influence’. To those who, in 1931, goggled and giggled at his innkeeping confessions, Fothergill was the contumacious dandy for ever locked in combat with ...

Mr Toad

John Bayley, 20 October 1994

Evelyn Waugh 
by Selina Hastings.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 600 pp., £20, October 1994, 1 85619 223 7
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... without humour’. A surprising charge: but, on reflection, surprisingly accurate. Waugh, in his black style, had no more humour than P.G. Wodehouse in his rosy style. Waugh deeply admired Wodehouse, and read and re-read him all his working life. But humour in fiction is about an interest in real people, and ...

Tracts for the Times

Karl Miller, 17 August 1989

Intellectuals 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 385 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 297 79395 0
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CounterBlasts No 1: God, Man and Mrs Thatcher 
by Jonathan Raban.
Chatto, 72 pp., £2.99, June 1989, 0 7011 3470 4
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... Those intellectuals! Hemingway was an intellectual who longed for death. ‘His contemporary Evelyn Waugh ... likewise longed for death. But Waugh was not an intellectual: he did not think he could refashion the rules of life out of his own head but submitted to the traditional discipline of his church, dying of ...

No snarling

Fatema Ahmed: P.G. Wodehouse, 3 November 2005

Wodehouse 
by Joseph Connolly.
Haus, 192 pp., £9.99, September 2004, 1 904341 68 3
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Wodehouse: A Life 
by Robert McCrum.
Penguin, 542 pp., £8.99, September 2005, 0 14 100048 1
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... But she was a surprising choice for official biographer after her remarks in a 1967 memoir of Evelyn Waugh: ‘Although I had known Plummie Wodehouse all my life, I had never been able to read his books. I cannot see the point of them.’ Fifteen years later, she was still far from convinced: ‘Women as a whole do not care for masculine ...

Mistress of Disappearances

Frank Kermode: Eluding Muriel Spark, 10 September 2009

Muriel Spark: The Biography 
by Martin Stannard.
Weidenfeld, 627 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 297 81592 1
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... Martin Stannard, the author of an immense biography of Evelyn Waugh, now publishes this excellent and far from brief life of Muriel Spark. The book was well under way while the novelist was still alive, and he expresses his gratitude for her ‘consent, encouragement and active assistance . . . She patiently answered my questions, offered interviews and engaged in a huge correspondence ...

Tush Ye Shall Not Die

John Bossy, 23 February 1995

William Tyndale: A Biography 
by David Daniell.
Yale, 429 pp., £19.95, September 1994, 0 300 06132 3
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The Renaissance Bible: Scholarship, Sacrifice and Subjectivity 
by Debora Kuller Shuger.
California, 297 pp., £32, December 1994, 0 520 08480 2
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... family in that part of Gloucestershire where the Cotswolds meet the Severn, since then the home of Evelyn Waugh (temporarily: the ghost of Tyndale got the better of him), of a bird sanctuary and a power station. Then it was most famous for the cloth trade, which gave Tyndale plenty of support during his life. He went to Oxford, where he discovered ...

Down with Cosmopolitanism

Gillian Darley, 18 May 2000

Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... for Marks and Spencer as well as Richard Neutra’s blonde American beach houses. Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh, Cyril Connolly, Freya Stark, even Penelope Chetwode (Mrs Betjeman) shared the pages with respected authorities on building materials, the English town (‘one must not be too gay or too aggressive in a country town’) and building types. There ...

How many nipples had Graham Greene?

Colm Tóibín, 9 June 1994

... rather shocked by the appearance of a long review by Barbara Cartland.’ In April 1979 Auberon Waugh wrote to him: ‘My friend Ferdie Mount has not drawn a sober breath since hearing of some kind word you sent about him to Alexander Chancellor.’ Greene had written to Skvorecky about Evelyn Waugh: ‘He was a ...

On the Titanic

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ocean Liners’ at the V&A, 24 May 2018

... Orion was ‘the first British ship to truly adopt modernist principles’ and was probably what Evelyn Waugh had in mind in Brideshead Revisited: ‘Yards and yards of biscuit-coloured wood … that had been bent round corners … blotting paper carpet’ all ‘designed perhaps by a sanitary engineer’. The V&A’s principal exhibition space has ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... is another figure to be let off with a caution, since – as for example in his treatment of Evelyn Waugh – ‘he is always capable of reining in his prejudices when something in him is stirred. Ultimately, Waugh’s snobbishness, his malice and his airs cease to matter because his novels are funny.’ It would ...

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