EVELYN WAUGH NEWSLETTER AND
Waugh vs. Time Magazine
On 12 July 1948, Time Magazine ran
a long feature story on The Loved One and its author, Evelyn
(“pronounced Evil in”) Waugh (“rhymes with raw”—in earlier Time
stories the author’s surname had been helpfully rhymed with “waw” and
“awe”). Some six months later, Waugh responded to “A Knife in the
Jocular Vein” by sending Time a
listing of biographical inaccuracies in the article. This document,
believed to be unpublished, is a recent addition to the Waugh papers at the
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin. It is published
here courtesy of Peters, Fraser & Dunlop on behalf of the Waugh estate.
MEMORANDUM ON CERTAIN INACCURACIES IN TIME MAGAZINE, JULY 12, 1948
Attached: cover memo from Emmet Hughes  to Edward R. Thompson: “Another of our impatient authors.”
Says an equally cruel contemporary: "One can find Evelyn's biography in the dedications of his books, each displaying a further step in his social progress." His first book, Rossetti; His Life and Works, was dedicated to Evelyn Gardner (fourth daughter of the first & last Baron Burghclere, and later Mrs. Evelyn Waugh No. 1). The Loved One is dedicated to Nancy Mitford, sister of the late Unity Mitford.
An examination of the dedications of my books in order of appearance will reveal a peculiar order of precedence; e.g., Lady Diana Cooper would come five places lower than Mrs. Woodruff. In fact, if the compiler of the article had spent five minutes in examining the statement he quotes, he would not have thought it worth printing.
PLACE OF BIRTH
Evelyn Waugh was born in 1903, allegedly near London. ("It's a great secret where I was born," Waugh said, when asked by TIME's London bureau, and hung up.) His father, a journalist turned successful book publisher, was a man of solidly middle-class taste, who reared Evelyn and his elder brother Alec (The Loom of Youth, Going Their Own Ways) in the solidly middle-class London suburb of Finchley.
There is no secret about my place of birth, but I refuse to answer impertinent questions on the telephone from unknown young women on Sunday evenings. I was born and lived my childhood in Hampstead. I have never lived or set foot in Finchley. Hampstead is a small borough of great historic interest five miles from the center of London and now joined to it by recent housing developments. So far from being “solidly middle-class,” it contained in my childhood such diverse characters as the Grand Duke Michael of Russia, Pavlova, the dancer, who lived immediately opposite, Lord Leverhulme, the millionaire soap-boiler, and Mr. Tooley, a yeoman dairy farmer, (probably the nearest farm that could be found to Charing Cross.) My father was not a rich man. He was never a journalist in the accepted sense of the term but was a poet and essayist. So far from being a successful publisher, the firm in which he worked was reduced practically to bankruptcy by his efforts and now survives in name only as a subsidiary company. He was a man of classical scholarship and the winner of the Newdigate Prize for verse at Oxford. Had the compiler of the article spent five minutes in perusing his autobiography, “One’s Man’s Road,” he could have saved himself from such foolish misstatements.
After two years of undistinguished scholarship but steady social progress, Evelyn was sent down without his degree.
I was not sent down but left of my own accord without a degree with the hearty encouragement of the college authorities.
My career on the “Daily Express” was extremely happy and lasted sixteen days. The paper at the time was edited by a Mr. Baxter, who was a Canadian eager to make friends in London. He knew very well who I was because the job had been obtained for me by Mr. Sacheverell Sitwell, whom Mr. Baxter was very eager to know. The story of his meeting me in the reporters’ room has no word of truth in it.
He took up fox hunting and began to give examples of a personal courage about which he is quite bland but which amazes his friends. They still wince at the thought of the dauntless little pink-coated figure dashing at fences and ditches that would unnerve more experienced horsemen.
I never went well to hounds. I never wore a pink coat, which in England is a sign that you have hunted regularly for some seasons with a single pack and owned horses in that country. My fox hunting was on hirelings or on borrowed horses in various parts of the country.
Waugh lives at Piers Court…. There, more than three hours from Mayfair, Waugh leads a comfortable, orderly, reflective life. An impeccable butler in striped trousers brings sherry and serves meals.
It is curious that their “impeccability” should be news. Were they peccant I could more easily forgive the impudence of mentioning them. If, however, Time Magazine is curious about these garments, they should realize that the man has two pairs of trousers, one striped and one black. He wore the black trousers when he had the honour of waiting upon Time’s representative.
Catholicism has given Waugh the unifying influence and the spiritualizing force whose workings are evident in Brideshead. It has also given him something which is also clearly necessary to his nature—the chance to feel superior in partibus infidelium.
Humility is the virtue most highly prized in the Catholic Church. To suggest that the faith can produce pride is blasphemous nonsense.
With Randolph Churchill and a group of British observers, he parachuted into Yugoslavia….
I did not parachute into Yugoslavia but landed there in a field in an aeroplane.
Noblesse oblige is not part of Waugh's concept of the conservative gentleman.
Noblesse oblige does not mean that noblemen are affable. It means that the status of nobility imposes obligations, e.g., to tell the truth, protect the destitute and defend with arms the cause of justice.
No doubt the material for this article was found concealed in a pumpkin. 
Waugh and the
In 1928 Evelyn Waugh published his first novel, Decline
and Fall. In the same year Clough Williams-Ellis, architect and
writer, published a book with the singular title England and the Octopus.
Williams-Ellis’s book deals with modern building and development; he writes
with distaste of the destruction of the great house and its replacement with
filling stations, villas and bungalows. England and the Octopus
is in the collection from Waugh’s personal library in the Harry Ransom Center
at the University of Texas. Waugh’s
bookplate is inside the front cover; his copy contains marginal markings in
pencil that indicate the book was read with care. Waugh met
Williams-Ellis at a dinner party in 1930 and reported in his diary that the
writer was “very jolly and chatty. He kept producing little books from
an attaché case and showing me underlined texts. ‘The Artist alone is the
legislator’ – that sort of thing.”
Waugh produced some underlining of his own in England and the Octopus;
marginal markings reveal that the two writers had some common concerns.
The publication of England and the Octopus at least two months
before the publication of Waugh’s first novel 
suggests an intertext for one of Waugh’s oddest images, the captive octopus,
which first appears in Decline and Fall, again ten years later in Scoop,
and in Waugh’s sixth novel Put Out More Flags. England and the Octopus provides a valuable
context for Waugh’s opinions on architecture. There are,
moreover, parallels between the book and Waugh’s essays which illuminate
recurring concerns for Waugh: the negative consequences of liberty and the
need for restraint in safeguarding civilization.
Waugh, Canova, and Cupid and
M. Sokolov, a Russian art historian, has
written an article on Evelyn Waugh’s use of Antonio Canova’s Cupid and
Psyche sculptural grouping to illustrate his 1953 story, Love Among
the Ruins. The article was originally a paper presented at an April
2004 conference on the theme “Canova and His Age.” An expanded version
appeared later in the Russian journal Voprosy literatury [Questions
of Literature] 1 (Jan./Feb. 2005): 111-23, entitled (in English
translation) “Canova’s ‘Cupid and Psyche’ in Evelyn Waugh’s Love Among the
Ruins: Toward the problem of pure form in neoclassicism and modernism.”
 For example, Sokolov mentions (112) that the “Cupid and Psyche” drawing is “included alongside other, also neoclassical drawings” (in Russian, “nariadu prochimi, tozhe neoklassicheskimi risunkami”), so he must have been aware of the other drawings and their Canova originals. Sokolov also mentions Waugh’s illustration entitled “Experimental Surgery” as being in neoclassical style (118). But he fails in both cases to note that these other “neoclassical” illustrations are also based on works by Canova.
That Evelyn Waugh Mystery
Diaries, Days, and
In the November 1995 issue of Harper’s,
Katie Roiphe published “Making the Incest Scene: In novel after novel,
writers grope for dark secrets.” Roiphe considered Jane Smiley’s A
Thousand Acres (1991), Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (1992) and
Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride (1993). Pauline Melville’s
use of incest in The Ventriloquist’s Tale was not especially original,
but the book won the Whitbread First Novel Award in 1997.
Read Widely and Uncommonly Well
Chris Baldick’s The Modern Movement is the
most recent in the excellent Oxford English Literary History series,
successor to the Oxford History of English Literature. This
volume strikes a superb balance between compiling literary-historical facts
and providing an important critical reassessment of a period surely in need
What is especially refreshing is that the “mainstream” he goes on to
describe lacks nothing of the interest or excitement of the radical high
modernist canon. Indeed, the book as a whole delivers superbly on its
early promise to present an image of the period’s true and spectacular
heterogeneity. If there is any complaint, it is that Baldick makes his
case too well. Because his argument against the dominant and
disproportionate “modernist” reading of the period is so persuasive (and
welcome, I will venture), when he strikes the same note in later stages of
the book, he seems to be protesting too much. The case has been made so
well in the early chapters—indeed, in the first few pages—that it seems
unnecessary to remind the reader on page 398, for instance, of the folly of
“a particular trend or movement,” in this case modernism, “com[ing] to stand
in for, and in effect to occlude, a whole literary period.” He had us
at “minority current.”
Evelyn Waugh: A Supplementary
Checklist of Criticism
This is a continuation of the earlier checklists published in Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies. It includes books and articles published in 2000 and 2001, as well as some items omitted from earlier lists.
Akiyama, Anzen. "Waugh's Decline
and Fall: The Original Handwritten Manuscript with its Emendations in the
1928 and 1962 Editions." Bulletin of Nippon College of Physical
Education 21.2 (1992): 191.
Chaim Potok, 1929-2002
Chaim Potok, best-selling novelist, PhD in
philosophy, and ordained rabbi, died in Merion, Pennsylvania on 23 July
Florey to Sell
Most Popular Church
Orwell to Waugh
for Bush's Brain