EVELYN WAUGH NEWSLETTER AND
The Three Bears
like Harry Lime, will be revealed later,
made much later than either Aloysius or Archie;
cost 'seven guineas',
character that bought it--
of which--Who would be most upper-crust of English Catholic novelists of the
father the headmaster of a public school,
dreaming spires were the coal stacks around Bolton)
we first meet Aloysius he is in a car; 'Sebastian's Teddy-bear sat at the
for some reason best known to herself she would keep that teddy bear on her
is a big teddy bear in the film with Michael Caine,
don't half bring it home to you what you are and what you have done
novelists of the last century: Waugh, Greene, Muriel Spark then Anthony
novelist' would seem a more appropriate epithet.
went flying through the air and she made a grab with her two hands held
forgot that it had this little squeak built in.'
each other for what they have done.
do you think--
indulging in this fairy tale to the detriment of other real-world scenarios?
sustains the characterization of this loveable rogue with the things he
manages to keep our sympathy with him
theme isn't memory--
wrote many plays staged on the the West End.
way Brideshead has recently been travestied in a new film,
say, this author, this Catholic author, right, slap, bang in the middle of
the Swinging Sixties,
challenged the whole of England to take another look;
now time to speak of Archie. Aloysius wrote to him;
cruel blow for Archie was when Lady Penelope converted,
of teddy bears were made in Germany,
was neglected at the end--
looked terrible in his last television appearances;
second thought maybe I’m being too harsh.
brother met Peter Bull (the owner of Delicatessen).
pictured himself as a Teddy Boy in a response to a Priestley attack.
is similar to Sebastian; attractive, funny, charming.
really more like Lady Celia--
Lady Celia was played by Jane Asher in the television series.
Foster was in the film.
was played by Shelley Winters.
much to remember--
development of Alfie's understanding
never falters. It is more perfect than Brideshead actually.
now time to speak of my own family.
That would be me of course. Not the 'arresting beauty' I hasten to add.
Julia; no that doesn't work because Mary's gone against the Church.
is like Lady Marchmain--
flat is an exact description of the interior of the luxury liner.
flat could almost be one of the penthouses Marchmain House was turned into.
writers concern themselves with cellophane;
rejects his roses in cellophane (for Ruby)
many connections; Alec Waugh lived here in Bangkok.
find out, Aloysius is here! 'Evelyn Paugh' his new name.
last memories; now remember it is not the original stage play
that is the reason why it has been overlooked.
could only slip between these two writers,
writer 'detestable term' according to Greene.
would put him on a par with Waugh for sheer artistic achievement.
The “Red-Knee’d” Officer:
Ferdinand Mount has worked as a journalist, a
non-career civil servant, a political consultant to the Conservative Party,
and editor of the Times Literary Supplement. He has also written
seventeen books, including eleven novels. The second novel is entitled The
Man Who Rode Ampersand, published in 1975. It is based on the life
of his father, Robin Mount (1907-1969), educated at Eton and Oxford
(Magdalen) in the same generation as Evelyn Waugh. Ferdinand is also
the nephew of Anthony Powell, who was married to the sister (Violet Pakenham)
of Mount’s mother (Julia Pakenham).
According to the small man, Pip Parrott “has been
mentioned in despatches again. Veronica is very much distressed.
She said it was too boring and why couldn’t they mention someone else for a
change” (Ampersand 199). Parrott is described as a “war hero,
antique dealer, and last of the Bright Young Things” (Ampersand 14).
Parrott served in the Royal Engineers: “despatches twice, wounded,
prisoner of war, escaped.” He is also said to have “stood out in a
sappers’ mess” (Ampersand 23). Veronica is a mystery in Mount’s
novel; there is a character by that name in Waugh’s A Handful of Dust.
Harry asks if he considers himself a misanthrope, the small man responds, “I
do not find it easy to be nice.” The interview is concluded by the
medical officer, who tells Harry that he will be returned home on a hospital
ship, the SS Cythera, which will proceed “the long way round” (Ampersand
200). The small man with red knees disappears from the story.
Latin America: Ignorance and
Irony in The Loved One
Aimée Thanatogenos “spoke the tongue of Los Angeles” (134), but not the tongue of the angels. That is the crux of The Loved One (1948), Evelyn Waugh’s satiric novella of American funerary customs. “With a name like that” (148), she is doomed from the beginning: she is the “death-spawned loved one,” but she is deaf to the European tongues in which her doom is pronounced. European names occur constantly in the novella—Heinkel, Bogolov, Medici—but those who bear them are cut off from their ancestral roots, “waifs and strays” (87-88) in a land of the lowest common denominator:
“I’ve just found a Mr.
Medici in my office.”
Like a knowledge of Italian pronunciation, Catholicism is not a common denominator, and its angelic tongue, Latin, is meaningless in the ears of good Americans. A grieving Mrs. Theodora Heinkel rings Dennis Barlow, the novella’s cynical British anti-hero, to arrange the funeral of her pet Sealyham. Her address is “207 Via Dolorosa” (17), on a street named for the “sorrowful way” Christ trod to crucifixion. Mrs. Heinkel grieves for her dog but not for her God, and she is deaf to the blasphemy of the white dove that will be released to symbolize her Sealyham’s soul “at the moment of committal” (21; cf. Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32). When Dennis collects the dog’s cadaver, he has to translate Latin into English for Mr. Heinkel:
“I have our brochure
here setting out our service. Were you thinking of interment or
A little later, arranging the funeral of his self-strangulated mentor at Whispering Glades, the model for his pets’ cemetery, Dennis talks with a “Mortuary Hostess” to the strains of the “Hindu Love Song”:
“Can I help you in any way?”
He has already heard a
Mrs. Bogolov—Bog is the Russian word for “God”—being informed that
Wilbur Kenworthy, the fatuous “Dreamer” of Whispering Glades, “does not
approve of wreaths or crosses” (41). Whispering Glades is an attempt to
deny the dirt, ugliness and pain that accompany death. The cross is a
supreme symbol of death’s horror for materialists like Kenworthy, who refuse
to accept its true significance. Hence the ironic double entendre of a
parenthesis in chapter five: “After consultation the Cricket Club’s fine
trophy in the shape of cross bats and wickets had been admitted. Dr.
Kenworthy had himself given judgement; the trophy was essentially a
reminder of life not of death; that was the crux” (73). A crux
is literally a cross, which for Christians is essentially a reminder of life
not of death. Blind to this symbolism, deaf to the Christian message,
Kenworthy’s disciple Aimée seeks in vain for a solution to her wooing by the
perfidious but attractive Dennis and the ethical but un-athletic Mr. Joyboy,
Whispering Glades’ chief mortician and the “one mediating logos between Dr.
Kenworthy and common humanity” (143). The Guru Brahmin, an agony uncle
to whom she has repeatedly turned for advice, proves as fake as everything
else in her world.
Editor's Note: 0800006408 is also known as Stephen Whittle, a New Zealander held under an alleged immigration offense in Santa Ana Jail, Orange County, California. He passes his time reading, meditating, and searching his meals for pâté de foie gras.
It Like It Wasn’t
In 1963 a kindly Professor of English ignored
prevailing opinion that Waugh was “too lightweight for serious study,”
listened to my contention that Waugh’s lightness plumbed interesting depths
and approved my proposal to write a dissertation on Brideshead Revisited.
Some days later a normally businesslike acquaintance asked about my topic; in
return I asked whether she had read the novel. Uneasy silence followed.
Then, with un-businesslike shyness she replied: “Thirty-seven times.
I was an alcoholic, and I feel so close to Sebastian that I can’t stop
reading the book.”
Editor’s Note: A version of this review appeared in Quadrant.
they filmed it there as well.
Castle Howard Revisited,
I came upon it visiting the website,
Anyway, a photograph of them sitting there,
Radio 4 broadcast a two-part, two-hour production
of Scoop. The script was written by Jeremy Front, who has also
written for TV serials such as Monarch of the Glen and has to his
credit a four-hour BBC radio production of Brideshead Revisited
broadcast in 2003. Front’s script followed the story, especially the
parts set in Africa, fairly closely, although there were of necessity some
omissions. Most omissions related to portions set in England.
These included some of Waugh’s best comic dialogue, such as William Boot’s
interviews with the rival Ishmaelite visa officers and Mr. Salter’s arrival
at the Boot Magna railroad halt and his cross-country hike to the
estate. Much dialogue between denizens of Boot Magna and between Lord
Copper and his underlings was severely edited, as was that involving John
Boot and Julia Stitch. The core of the story survived but lost much of
Inside Story of John Mortimer’s Brideshead Script
One of my favorite lines in the 1981 television
version of Brideshead Revisited occurs during the scene at Oxford that
depicts Charles Ryder’s inauspicious first meeting with aristocrat Sebastian
Flyte. Sebastian and a raucous band of Etonians in white tie tumble into the
quad of Charles’s college and spot the somber glow coming from his
ground-floor rooms. One of them, Boy Mulcaster (played by the late
great Jeremy Sinden), staggers up to an open window and peers into the
smoke-filled room, where Charles and his circle of young-fogey intellectuals
are listening to Collins, the embryo don, read a paper on the nature of
chance. “It looks like a bloody prayer meeting to me,” Mulcaster
sneers. Then, of course, comes the denouement. A glassy-eyed
Sebastian leans well forward into the room and disgorges a mixture of wines
that were too various.
Gibbon observes that in the Arabian book par excellence, in the
Koran, there are no camels; I believe if there were any doubt as to the
authenticity of the Koran, this absence of camels would be sufficient to
prove it is an Arabian work.
With the exception of a reference to the University of Reading, Berkshire,
the only county with a royal prefix, even paratextually, this book screams
sedition. The back of the dust jacket promises to undermine national
identity, a sentiment promptly followed by more of the same on its inside,
hammered home by the cover’s detail of William Hogarth’s The March of the
Guards to Finchley which was ultimately dedicated to Frederick II of
Prussia after George II rejected the guards’ debauchery, and corroborated by
Patrick Parrinder’s now mundane explanation of the popular, individual,
vernacular, democratizing newness of the novel, a genre to correct that
frightful Shakespearean habit of perceiving the nation “from the top down”
(18): “Its status as private reading-matter gives it its unstable and
potentially subversive function in relation to the family and the community
at large” (13). Can this really be the English novel?
Despite the stereotypical lack of interest in politics, the rather ambiguous
nature of this literary history that is beyond annotation yet never quite matures
into an ideological analysis of identity and is perhaps best described as
glorified lit. crit., proleptically, Parrinder, author of The Failure of
Theory, does manage to round up the usual refractory suspects, combining
the polysemic, revolutionary literariness of Mikhail Bakhtin and Ian Watt
with Fredric Jameson’s reductive version of the novel as “national allegory”
(4), Benedict Andersen’s now commonplace rendering of the nation as social
construct, and Edward Said’s earlier vandalizing of it. What, no camels
then? There are, in fact, more sensibly, camels galore, but the only
indication that the introductory pages are almost entirely irrelevant to the
remaining three hundred or so, that we are about to spend several hours
attempting to unearth sedition in the oddest of places, that apparently we
must now sell everything via subversion, applicable or not, is the inclusion,
over and above Parrinder’s acknowledgment that the English novel is
epiphenomenal from beginning to end, its origins stemming from all sorts of
foreign sources, of Sir Walter Scott, and the exclusion of Tayeb Salih, the
favoring of insular tradition over counter-orientalism.
Does this sound like anyone we know? A
writer seeks to invent himself so as to impose himself on a different stratum
of society; responds to criticism of his anti-post-colonial and other
political views with still more extreme and provocative statements; confesses
happily to being a snob; carefully keeps traces of himself out of his work;
in travel books, where he can define a whole society in a few paragraphs,
expunges all mention of his traveling companion; demands from his literary
agent a variety of very unliterary services; has recurring fears of being
unable to write anything more; and enjoys staying in hotels because he likes
“the temporariness, the mercenary services, the absence of responsibility,
the anonymity, the scope for complaint.” He even tries to commit
suicide and is on the whole relieved when he fails. Besides that, he
has “an exquisite command of the English language.”
In this work rising out of her Ph.D.
dissertation, Sarah Cole explores the origins and nature of social constructs
that governed relations between soldiers of the Great War (with focus on
soldiers en masse and less on individuals). The twist of the
work is how the intense connections that soldiers formed among themselves
stood in opposition to the Victorian and Imperial constructs that society
envisioned and prescribed for male friendship; the failings of these ideals
for male friendship become apparent through the modernist works she
considers. Soldiers, as they faced and emerged from the unprecedented
chaos of the First World War, found that their very bodies existed as a
“body” of constructs in a multitude of senses: “the body of aestheticist
dreams, the imperialist body as a repository for ideology … the smashed and
debilitated body at war … the body of the post-war years” when it becomes “a
trope for the physical and spiritual state of a war-scarred culture” (8).
within the book delve the Victorian and Imperial groundings from which
constructs for male friendships grew (“Victorian dreams, modern realities:
Forster’s classical imagination” and “Conradian alienation and imperial
intimacy”), then uncover male relationships within the war itself (“'My
killed friends are with me where I go': friendship and comradeship at war”),
and, last, probes the nature of male connectedness in the postwar years
(“'The violence of the nightmare': D. H. Lawrence and the aftermath of
war”). Through these explorations, Cole successfully presents a modernism
among whose many conversations remains a central discussion of male intimacy,
a topic that “ripples across the literary landscape” (20).
Abstracts of Japanese Essays on
Evelyn Waugh, 1948-1959
S. Y. “Evelyn Waugh no Ninki―Sekaibungakutsushin (Igirisu)”
[“Popularity of Evelyn Waugh―World Literary Correspondence (Britain)”].
Sekaibungaku [World Literature] 25 (1948): 24-25.
Ueno, Naozo. “Aisuruhito Korewa Shinin no Daimeishi
Desu―Evelyn Waugh no Fuushishousetu.” Sekaijin 6 (1949):
Hidezo. “Evelyn Waugh no Fuushi―Fuushiseishin wa Aijo to Ryouritu
Shinai?” [“Satire of Evelyn Waugh―Can the satirical spirit coexist
with love?”]. Albion 24 (1954): 54-57.
Saeki, Shoichi. “Evelyn Waugh Ron― Niryu Sakka no Ikikata.”
[“A Theory about Evelyn Waugh― The Way of the Second-Rate Writer”]. Oberon
1.2 (1954): 37-56.
Yu. “Evelyn Waugh Cho, Ninomiya & Yokoo Yaku Last Fujin” [“Mrs.
Last, by Evelyn Waugh, trans. Yokō & Ninomiya”]. Kindai
Bungaku [Modern Literature] 9.7 (1954): 46-49.
Hashimoto, Michiko. “Evelyn Waugh--Brideshead Revisited ni
Okeru.” Journal of the Society of English and American Literature,
Kansei Gakuin University 1.2 (1955): 77-94.
Motoi. “Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh no Kigekiteki Sekai―Decline
and Fall to Vile Bodies wo Chushin Toshite” [“The Comic World of
Evelyn Waugh”]. Proceedings of the Faculty of Letters of Tokai
University 2 (1959): A54-A60.
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 prior to 2005 and omitted from earlier lists.
Bacchus, Michael. “Not a Bedspread, but a
Counterpane: Under the Covers with Gay Men and Aristocrats in
Twentieth-Century British Literature.” DAI 58.5A (1997):
1718. U of Southern California, 1997.
Waugh on CD
Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest
of the "Blood Book"
The sons decline, the sons decline and fall:
More and More Lists
Visits to the lavatory, 14 March
2009: Sword of Honour
The Times followed suit with "10 spectacular second novels" by Luke Leitch on 17 March 2009. Vile Bodies is said to be "much funnier" than Decline and Fall. The list is available at The Times.
and the Marginal Catholics
on Waugh and Orwell
Cruise O'Brien, 1917-2008
Waugh on Facebook
for The Loved One