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Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh

Overview
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh ˈ (28 October 1903 10 April 1966), known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, travel books and biographies. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer. His best-known works include his early satires Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall is a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1928. It was Waugh's first published novel; an earlier attempt, entitled The Temple at Thatch, was destroyed by Waugh while still in manuscript form. Decline and Fall is based in part on Waugh's undergraduate years...

(1928) and A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust is a novel by Evelyn Waugh published in 1934. It is included in Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, and was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present....

(1934), his novel Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is theologically termed 'the operation of Grace', that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by...

(1945) and his trilogy of Second World War novels collectively known as Sword of Honour
Sword of Honour
The Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh is his look at the Second World War. It consists of three novels, Men at Arms , Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender , which loosely parallel his wartime experiences...

(1952–61).
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Quotations

His courtesy was somewhat extravagant. He would write and thank people who wrote to thank him for wedding presents and when he encountered anyone as punctilious as himself the correspondence ended only with death.

As quoted in LIFE magazine (8 April 1946)

Don't give your opinions about Art and the Purpose of Life. They are of little interest and, anyway, you can't express them. Don't analyze yourself. Give the relevant facts and let your readers make their own judgments. Stick to your story. It is not the most important subject in history but it is one about which you are uniquely qualified to speak.

Reviewing World within World, the autobiography of Stephen Spender, in The Tablet (5 May 1951)

Don't hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them.

The Tablet (9 May 1951)

A typical triumph of modern science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and remove it."

: Diary entry (March 1964), after hearing that doctors had removed a benign tumor from Randolph Churchill|Randolph Churchill.

I put the words down and push them a bit.

As quoted in his obituary in The New York Times (11 April 1966)

Aesthetic value is often the by-product of the artist striving to do something else.

Diaries of Evelyn Waugh (1976)

Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.

Diaries of Evelyn Waugh (1976)
Encyclopedia
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh ˈ (28 October 1903 10 April 1966), known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, travel books and biographies. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer. His best-known works include his early satires Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall is a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1928. It was Waugh's first published novel; an earlier attempt, entitled The Temple at Thatch, was destroyed by Waugh while still in manuscript form. Decline and Fall is based in part on Waugh's undergraduate years...

(1928) and A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust is a novel by Evelyn Waugh published in 1934. It is included in Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, and was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present....

(1934), his novel Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is theologically termed 'the operation of Grace', that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by...

(1945) and his trilogy of Second World War novels collectively known as Sword of Honour
Sword of Honour
The Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh is his look at the Second World War. It consists of three novels, Men at Arms , Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender , which loosely parallel his wartime experiences...

(1952–61). Waugh is widely recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the 20th century.

The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing
Lancing College
Lancing College is a co-educational English independent school in the British public school tradition, founded in 1848 by Nathaniel Woodard. Woodard's aim was to provide education "based on sound principle and sound knowledge, firmly grounded in the Christian faith." Lancing was the first of a...

 and Hertford College, Oxford
Hertford College, Oxford
Hertford College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is located in Catte Street, directly opposite the main entrance of the original Bodleian Library. As of 2006, the college had a financial endowment of £52m. There are 612 students , plus various visiting...

, and worked briefly as a schoolmaster before becoming a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society that never left him. In the 1930s he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent; he was reporting from Abyssinia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War, first in the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 and later in the Royal Horse Guards
Royal Horse Guards
The Royal Horse Guards was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, part of the Household Cavalry.Founded August 1650 in Newcastle Upon Tyne by Sir Arthur Haselrig on the orders of Oliver Cromwell as the Regiment of Cuirassiers, the regiment became the Earl of Oxford's Regiment during the reign of...

. All these experiences, and the wide range of people he encountered, were used in Waugh's fiction, generally to humorous effect; even his own mental breakdown in the early 1950s, brought about by misuse of drugs, was fictionalised.

Waugh had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930, after the failure of his first marriage. His traditionalist stance led him to oppose strongly all attempts to reform the Church; the changes brought about in the wake of the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 of 1962–65, particularly the introduction of the vernacular Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, greatly disturbed him. This blow, together with a growing dislike for the welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 culture of the postwar world and a decline in his health, saddened his final years, although he continued to write. To the public at large he generally displayed a mask of indifference, but he was capable of great kindness to those he considered his friends, many of whom remained devoted to him throughout his life. After his death in 1966, he acquired a new following through film and television versions of his work, such as Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited (TV serial)
Brideshead Revisited is a 1981 British television serial produced by Granada Television for broadcast by the ITV network. The teleplay is based on Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited...

in 1982.

Family background



Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was born on 28 October 1903 to Arthur Waugh (1866-1943) and Catherine Charlotte Raban (1870-1954), into a family with English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish and Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 origins. Distinguished forbears include Lord Cockburn (1779–1854), a leading Scottish advocate and judge, William Morgan (1750–1833), a pioneer of actuarial science
Actuarial science
Actuarial science is the discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk in the insurance and finance industries. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified in this field through education and experience...

 who served The Equitable Life Assurance Society for 56 years, and Philip Henry Gosse
Philip Henry Gosse
Philip Henry Gosse was an English naturalist and popularizer of natural science, virtually the inventor of the seawater aquarium, and a painstaking innovator in the study of marine biology...

 (1810–88), a natural scientist who became notorious through his depiction as a religious fanatic in his son Edmund
Edmund Gosse
Sir Edmund William Gosse CB was an English poet, author and critic; the son of Philip Henry Gosse and Emily Bowes.-Early life:...

's memoir Father and Son. Of those bearing the Waugh name, the Rev. Alexander Waugh (1754–1827) was a minister in the Secession Church of Scotland
United Secession Church
The United Secession Church was a Scottish Presbyterian denomination. It was founded in 1820 by a union of various churches which had seceded from the established Church of Scotland and existed until 1847....

  who helped found the London Missionary Society
London Missionary Society
The London Missionary Society was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England in 1795 by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa...

, and was one of the leading Nonconformist preachers of his day. His grandson Alexander Waugh (1840–1906) was a country medical practitioner who bullied his wife and children and became known in the Waugh family as "the Brute". The elder of his two sons, born in 1866, was Arthur Waugh
Arthur Waugh
Arthur Waugh was an English author, literary critic, and publisher. He was the father of the writers Alec and Evelyn Waugh.-His life:...

.

After attending Sherborne School
Sherborne School
Sherborne School is a British independent school for boys, located in the town of Sherborne in north-west Dorset, England. It is one of the original member schools of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference....

 and New College, Oxford
New College, Oxford
New College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.- Overview :The College's official name, College of St Mary, is the same as that of the older Oriel College; hence, it has been referred to as the "New College of St Mary", and is now almost always...

, Arthur Waugh began a career in publishing and as a literary critic. In 1902 he became managing director of Chapman and Hall
Chapman and Hall
Chapman & Hall was a British publishing house in London, founded in the first half of the 19th century by Edward Chapman and William Hall. Upon Hall's death in 1847, Chapman's cousin Frederic Chapman became partner in the company, of which he became sole manager upon the retirement of Edward...

, publishers of the works of Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

. He had married Catherine Raban (1870–1954) in 1893; their first son Alexander Raban Waugh
Alec Waugh
Alexander Raban Waugh , was a British novelist, the elder brother of the better-known Evelyn Waugh and son of Arthur Waugh, author, literary critic, and publisher...

 (always known as Alec) was born on 8 July 1898. Alec Waugh later became a novelist of note. At the time of his birth the family were living in North London, at Hillfield Road, West Hampstead
West Hampstead
West Hampstead is an area in northwest London, England, situated between Childs Hill to the north, Frognal and Hampstead to the north-east, Swiss Cottage to the east, and South Hampstead to the south. Until the late 19th century, the locale was a small village called West End...

 where, on 28 October 1903, the couple's second son was born, "in great haste before Dr Andrews could arrive", Catherine recorded. On 7 January 1904 the boy was christened Arthur Evelyn St John Waugh, but was known in the family and in the wider world as Evelyn.

Golders Green and Heath Mount


In 1907 the family left Hillfield Road for "Underhill", a house which Arthur had had built in nearby Golders Green
Golders Green
Golders Green is an area in the London Borough of Barnet in London, England. Although having some earlier history, it is essentially a 19th century suburban development situated about 5.3 miles north west of Charing Cross and centred on the crossroads of Golders Green Road and Finchley Road.In the...

, then a semi-rural area of dairy farms, market gardens and bluebell woods. Evelyn received his first lessons at home from his mother, with whom he formed a particularly close relationship—Arthur Waugh was a more distant figure, whose bond with his elder son Alec was such that Evelyn often felt excluded. In September 1910 Evelyn began as a day pupil at Heath Mount
Heath Mount School
Heath Mount School is a co-educational prep school near Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire. It was originally based in Hampstead, until the 1930s when it moved to rural Hertfordshire.-Notable former pupils:...

 preparatory school. He was by then a lively child of many interests, who had already written his first complete story, "The Curse of the Horse Race". Waugh spent six relatively contented years at Heath Mount; on his own assertion he was "quite a clever little boy", who was seldom distressed or overawed by his lessons. Physically pugnacious, he was inclined to bully weaker boys; among his victims was the future society photographer Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton
Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton, CBE was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre...

, who never forgot the experience.

Outside school, Waugh and other children in the neighbourhood performed dramatic works usually written by him. On the basis of a belief then being fostered in the press
Invasion literature
Invasion literature was a historical literary genre most notable between 1871 and the First World War . The genre first became recognizable starting in Britain in 1871 with The Battle of Dorking, a fictional account of an invasion of England by Germany...

 that the Germans were about to invade England, he organised his friends into a gang called "The Pistol Troop", which built a fort, went on manoeuvres and paraded in makeshift uniforms. After the First World War broke out in 1914, Waugh and other boys from Heath Mount's Boy Scout troop were sometimes employed at the War Office
War Office
The War Office was a department of the British Government, responsible for the administration of the British Army between the 17th century and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the Ministry of Defence...

 as messengers. He hung about in the corridors hoping to get a glimpse of Lord Kitchener, but never did. Family holidays were usually spent with the Waugh aunts at Midsomer Norton
Midsomer Norton
Midsomer Norton is a town near the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England, south-west of Bath, north-east of Wells, north-west of Frome, and south-east of Bristol. It has a population of 10,458. Along with Radstock and Westfield it used to be part of the conurbation and large civil parish of Norton...

, in a house lit by oil lamps that Waugh recalled with delight many years later. At Midsomer Norton he became deeply interested in high Anglican
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

 church rituals—the first stirrings of the spiritual dimension that would later dominate his life—and served as an altar boy at the local Anglican church. During his last year at Heath Mount Waugh devised and edited a school magazine, The Cynic.

Lancing



Alec Waugh, like his father, had gone to school at Sherborne, and it was assumed that Evelyn would follow. However, in 1915 Alec was asked to leave, after a homosexual relationship came to light. He departed for military training, and while waiting for his commission to be confirmed wrote a novel of school life, The Loom of Youth, which was published by Chapman and Hall. The novel, which alluded to homosexual friendships in what was recognisably Sherborne, caused a public sensation and offended the school sufficiently to make it impossible for Evelyn to go there. Much to his annoyance he was sent in May 1917 to Lancing
Lancing College
Lancing College is a co-educational English independent school in the British public school tradition, founded in 1848 by Nathaniel Woodard. Woodard's aim was to provide education "based on sound principle and sound knowledge, firmly grounded in the Christian faith." Lancing was the first of a...

, in his view a decidedly inferior establishment.

Waugh soon overcame his initial aversion to the school and settled down. He began to establish a reputation as an aesthete, and in November 1917 had an essay "In Defence of Cubism" accepted by the arts magazine Drawing and Design—his first published article. Within the school he became mildly subversive, mocking the school's cadet corps and founding the Corpse Club "for those who were weary of life". The end of the war saw the return to the school of younger masters such as J. F. Roxburgh, who encouraged Waugh to write and predicted a great future for him. A biography of Roxburgh (who went on to be first headmaster of Stowe School
Stowe School
Stowe School is an independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was founded on 11 May 1923 by J. F. Roxburgh, initially with 99 male pupils. It is a member of the Rugby Group and Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The school is also a member of the G20 Schools Group...

) was the last work given a literary review by Waugh, in The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

on 17 October 1965. Another mentor, Francis Crease, taught Waugh the arts of calligraphy
Calligraphy
Calligraphy is a type of visual art. It is often called the art of fancy lettering . A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner"...

 and decorative design; some of the boy's work was good enough to be used by Chapman and Hall on book jackets.

In his later years at Lancing, Waugh achieved conventional success, becoming a house-captain, editor of the school magazine, president of the debating society, and winning numerous art and literature prizes. He also shed most of his religious beliefs. He started a novel of school life, untitled, but after around 5,000 words the attempt was abandoned. He ended his schooldays by winning a scholarship to Hertford College, Oxford
Hertford College, Oxford
Hertford College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. It is located in Catte Street, directly opposite the main entrance of the original Bodleian Library. As of 2006, the college had a financial endowment of £52m. There are 612 students , plus various visiting...

, and left Lancing in December 1921.

Oxford



Waugh arrived in Oxford in January 1922. He was soon writing to old friends at Lancing about the pleasures of his new life; he informed Tom Driberg: "I do no work here and never go to Chapel". During his first two terms he generally followed convention; he smoked a pipe, bought a bicycle, chewed sweets, and gave his maiden speech at the Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

, opposing the motion that "This House would welcome Prohibition". Waugh wrote reports on Union debates for both Oxford magazines, Cherwell
Cherwell (newspaper)
Cherwell is an independent newspaper, largely published for students of Oxford University. First published in 1920, it has had an online edition since 1996. Named after the local river, Cherwell is published by OSPL , who also publish the sister publication ISIS along with the Etcetera Supplement...

and Isis
Isis magazine
The Isis Magazine was established at Oxford University in 1892 . Traditionally a rival to the student newspaper Cherwell, it was finally acquired by the latter's publishing house, OSPL, in the late 1990s...

, and acted as a film critic for Isis. He also became secretary of the Hertford College debating society, "an onerous but not honorific post", he told Driberg. Although Waugh tended to regard his scholarship as a reward rather than a stepping-stone to academic success, he did sufficient work in his first two terms to pass his "History Previous", or preliminary examinations.

The arrival in Oxford in October 1922 of the sophisticated Etonians Harold Acton
Harold Acton
Sir Harold Mario Mitchell Acton CBE was a British writer, scholar and dilettante perhaps most famous for being wrongly believed to have inspired the character of "Anthony Blanche" in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited...

 and Brian Howard changed Waugh's Oxford life. Acton and Howard rapidly became the centre of an avant-garde
Avant-garde
Avant-garde means "advance guard" or "vanguard". The adjective form is used in English to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics....

 circle known as the Hypocrites, whose artistic, social and homosexual values Waugh adopted enthusiastically; he later wrote: "It was the stamping ground of half my Oxford life". He began drinking heavily, and embarked on the first of several homosexual relationships, the most lasting of which were with Richard Pares and Alastair Graham. He continued to write reviews and short stories for the university journals, and developed a reputation as a talented graphic artist, but formal study largely ceased. This neglect led to a bitter feud between Waugh and his history tutor, C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell was a British historian and academic who served as dean and later principal of Hertford College, Oxford. His field of expertise was modern European history, his most notable work being A History of the Great War, 1914–18...

, dean (and later principal) of Hertford College. When Cruttwell advised him to mend his ways, Waugh responded in a manner he admitted later was "fatuously haughty", from which point relations between the two descended into mutual hatred. Waugh continued the feud long after his Oxford days, by using Cruttwell's name in his early novels for a succession of ludicrous, ignominious or odious minor characters.

Waugh's dissipated lifestyle continued into his final Oxford year, 1924. A letter written that year to a Lancing friend, Dudley Carew
Dudley Carew
Dudley Charles Carew was an English journalist, writer, poet and film critic. He was a special correspondent of The Times in the 1920s and 1930s, and reported on cricket matches for the paper. From 1945 until his retirement in 1963 he was the paper's film critic...

, hints at severe emotional pressures: "I have been living very intensely these last three weeks. For the last fortnight I have been nearly insane ... I may perhaps one day in a later time tell you some of the things that have happened." He did just enough work to pass his final examinations in the summer of 1924 with a third class degree, a poor result which led to the loss of his scholarship. This effectively prevented him from returning to Oxford to complete the nine terms' residence that, under the University's statutes, were necessary before his degree could be awarded, so he left without one. Back at Underhill he began a novel, The Temple at Thatch
The Temple at Thatch
The Temple at Thatch was an unpublished novel by the British author Evelyn Waugh, his first adult attempt at full-length fiction. He began writing it in 1924 at the end of his final year as an undergraduate at Hertford College, Oxford, and continued to work on it intermittently in the following 12...

, and worked with some of his fellow-Hypocrites on a film, The Scarlet Woman, which was shot partly in the gardens at Underhill. He spent much of the rest of the summer in the company of Alastair Graham; after Graham departed for Kenya, Waugh enrolled for the autumn at a London art school, Heatherley's.

Schoolmaster and incipient writer



Waugh began at Heatherley's in late September 1924, but became bored with the routine and soon abandoned his course. He spent weeks partying in London and Oxford before the overriding need for money led him to apply through an agency for a teaching job. Almost at once he secured a post at Arnold House, a boys' preparatory school in North Wales, beginning in January 1925. He took with him the notes for his novel, The Temple at Thatch, intending to work on it in his spare time. Despite the gloomy ambience of the school, Waugh did his best to fulfil the requirements of his position, but a brief return to London and Oxford during the Easter vacation only exacerbated his sense of isolation.

In the summer of 1925 Waugh's outlook briefly improved, with the prospect of a job in Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 as secretary to the Scottish writer Charles Scott Moncrieff who was engaged on the English translations of Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

's works. Believing that the job was his, Waugh resigned his position at Arnold House. He had meantime sent the early chapters of his novel to Acton for assessment and criticism. Acton's reply was coolly dismissive, so that Waugh immediately burnt his manuscript; shortly afterwards, before he had left North Wales, he received the news that the Moncrieff job had fallen through. These twin blows were sufficient for him to consider suicide. He records that he went down to a nearby beach and, leaving a note with his clothes, walked out to sea. An attack by jellyfish changed his mind, and he returned quickly to the shore.

During the following two years Waugh taught at schools in Aston Clinton
Aston Clinton
Aston Clinton is a village and civil parish close to the main A41 road in Buckinghamshire, England between Tring and Aylesbury. The parish covers and is about east of Aylesbury. The village is at the foot of the chalk escarpment of the Chiltern Hills at the junction of the pre-historic track the...

 (from which he was dismissed for the attempted drunken seduction of a school matron) and Notting Hill
Notting Hill
Notting Hill is an area in London, England, close to the north-western corner of Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea...

 in London. He considered alternative careers in printing or cabinet-making, and attended evening classes in carpentry at Holborn Polytechnic while continuing to write. A short story, "The Balance", written in an experimental modernist
Modernist literature
Modernist literature is sub-genre of Modernism, a predominantly European movement beginning in the early 20th century that was characterized by a self-conscious break with traditional aesthetic forms...

 style, became his first commercially published fiction when it was included by Chapman and Hall in a 1926 anthology, Georgian Stories. An extended essay on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti...

 was printed privately by Alastair Graham, using by agreement the press of the Shakespeare Head Press, Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon is a market town and civil parish in south Warwickshire, England. It lies on the River Avon, south east of Birmingham and south west of Warwick. It is the largest and most populous town of the District of Stratford-on-Avon, which uses the term "on" to indicate that it covers...

 where he was undergoing training as a printer. This led to a contract from the publishers Duckworth for a full-length biography of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement,...

, which Waugh wrote during 1927. He also began working on a comic novel; after several temporary working titles this became Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall is a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1928. It was Waugh's first published novel; an earlier attempt, entitled The Temple at Thatch, was destroyed by Waugh while still in manuscript form. Decline and Fall is based in part on Waugh's undergraduate years...

. Having given up teaching, he had no regular employment except for a short, unsuccessful stint as a reporter on the Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

in April–May 1927. That year he met (possibly through brother Alec) and fell in love with Evelyn Gardner, the daughter of Lord and Lady Burghclere
Herbert Gardner, 1st Baron Burghclere
Herbert Colstoun Gardner, 1st Baron Burghclere PC was a British Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 until he was raised to the peerage in 1895...

.

"He-Evelyn" and "She-Evelyn"



In December 1927 Waugh and Evelyn Gardner became engaged, despite the opposition of Lady Burghclere who felt that Waugh lacked moral fibre and kept unsuitable company. Among their friends they quickly became known as "He-Evelyn" and "She-Evelyn". Waugh was at this time dependent on a £4-a-week allowance from his father, and the small sums he could earn from book reviewing and journalism. The Rossetti biography was published to a generally favourable reception in April 1928: J.C. Squire in The Observer praised the book's elegance and wit; Acton gave cautious approval, and the novelist Rebecca West
Rebecca West
Cicely Isabel Fairfield , known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public...

 wrote saying how much she had enjoyed the book. Less pleasing to Waugh was the Times Literary Supplements references to him as "Miss Waugh".

When
Decline and Fall was completed, Duckworth objected to its "obscenity", but Chapman and Hall agreed to publish it. This was sufficient for Waugh and Evelyn Gardner to bring forward their wedding plans. They were married in St Paul's Church, Portman Square, on 27 June 1928, with only Acton, Alec Waugh and the bride's friend Pansy Pakenham present. The couple made their home in a small flat in Canonbury Square, Islington
Islington
Islington is a neighbourhood in Greater London, England and forms the central district of the London Borough of Islington. It is a district of Inner London, spanning from Islington High Street to Highbury Fields, encompassing the area around the busy Upper Street...

. The first months of the marriage were overshadowed by a lack of money, and by She-Evelyn's poor health, which persisted into the autumn.

In September 1928 Decline and Fall was published to almost unanimous praise. By December the book was into its third printing, and the American publishing rights had been sold for $500. In the afterglow of this success Waugh was commissioned to write travel articles in return for a free Mediterranean cruise, which he and She-Evelyn began in February 1929 as an extended delayed honeymoon. The trip was disrupted when She-Evelyn contracted severe pneumonia
Pneumonia
Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung—especially affecting the microscopic air sacs —associated with fever, chest symptoms, and a lack of air space on a chest X-ray. Pneumonia is typically caused by an infection but there are a number of other causes...

 and was carried ashore to the British hospital in Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

. She recovered, and the couple were home in June. In July, without warning, She-Evelyn revealed that their mutual friend, John Heygate
John Heygate
Sir John Edward Nourse Heygate, 4th Baronet was a Northern Irish journalist and novelist.Heygate was the son of an Eton College housemaster Arthur Conolly Gage Heygate and Frances Evelyn Rowley Harvey...

, had become her lover, an admission that shocked and dismayed Waugh. After an attempted reconciliation failed, Waugh filed for divorce on 3 September 1929. The couple apparently met again only once, during the process for the annulment of the marriage a few years later.

Recognition


Waugh's biographer, Christopher Sykes
Christopher Sykes (author)
Christopher Hugh Sykes FRSL was an English author. Born into a wealthy north-of-England land-owning family, he was the second son of the diplomat Sir Mark Sykes ....

, records that after the divorce friends "saw, or believed they saw, a new hardness and bitterness" in Waugh's outlook. Nevertheless, despite a letter to Acton in which he wrote that he "did not know it was possible to be so miserable and live", Waugh soon resumed his professional and social life. He finished his second novel, Vile Bodies
Vile Bodies
Vile Bodies is a 1930 novel by Evelyn Waugh satirising the Bright Young People: decadent young London society between World War I and World War II.-Title:The title comes from the Epistle to the Philippians 3:21...

, and wrote articles including (ironically he thought) one for the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

on the meaning of the marriage ceremony. Between September and January 1930, when the novel was published, Waugh moved between the various houses of his friends, a practice he was to continue as he was to have no settled home for the next eight years.

Vile Bodies, a satire on the Bright Young People
Bright Young People
The Bright Young People was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They threw elaborate fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London, and drank heavily and experimented with drugs—all of which...

 of the 1920s, was published on 19 January 1930 and was Waugh's first major commercial success. Despite its quasi-biblical title, the book is dark, bitter, "a manifesto of disillusionment", according to biographer Martin Stannard. As a best-selling author Waugh could now command larger fees for his journalism. Amid regular work for
The Graphic
The Graphic
The Graphic was a British weekly illustrated newspaper, first published on 4 December 1869 by William Luson Thomas's company Illustrated Newspapers Limited....

, Town and Country and Harper's Bazaar
Harper's Bazaar
Harper’s Bazaar is an American fashion magazine, first published in 1867. Harper’s Bazaar is published by Hearst and, as a magazine, considers itself to be the style resource for “women who are the first to buy the best, from casual to couture.”...

, he quickly wrote Labels, a detached account of his honeymoon cruise with She-Evelyn.

Conversion to Catholicism


On 29 September 1930 Waugh was received into the Roman Catholic Church. This shocked his family and surprised some of his friends, but the step had been contemplated for some time. Although he had lost his Anglicanism at Lancing and had led an irreligious life at Oxford, from the mid-1920s there are references in his diaries to religious discussion and regular church-going. On 22 December 1925 Waugh writes: "Claud and I took Audrey to supper and sat up until 7 in the morning arguing about the Roman Church". The entry for 20 February 1927 includes "I am to visit a Father Underhill about being a parson". Throughout this period Waugh was influenced by his friend Olivia Plunket-Greene, who had converted in 1925 and of whom Waugh wrote later: "She bullied me into the Church". It was she who led him to Father Martin D'Arcy
Martin D'Arcy
Fr. Martin Cyril D'Arcy S.J. was a Roman Catholic priest, philosopher of love, and a correspondent, friend, and adviser of a range of literary figures including Evelyn Waugh, Dorothy L. Sayers and W. H. Auden...

, who persuaded Waugh "on firm intellectual convictions but little emotion" that "the Christian revelation was genuine". In 1949 Waugh explained that his conversion followed his realisation that life was "unintelligible and unendurable without God".

Writer and traveller



On 10 October 1930 Waugh, representing several newspapers, departed for Abyssinia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 to cover the coronation of Haile Selassie. He reported the event as "an elaborate propaganda effort" to convince the world that Abyssinia was a civilised nation, concealing the truth that the emperor had achieved power through barbarous means. A subsequent journey through the British East Africa colonies and the Belgian Congo
Belgian Congo
The Belgian Congo was the formal title of present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo between King Leopold II's formal relinquishment of his personal control over the state to Belgium on 15 November 1908, and Congolese independence on 30 June 1960.-Congo Free State, 1884–1908:Until the latter...

 formed the basis of two books; the travelogue Remote People (1931) and the comic novel Black Mischief
Black Mischief
Black Mischief was Evelyn Waugh's third novel, published in 1932. The novel chronicles the efforts of the English-educated Emperor Seth, assisted by a fellow Oxford graduate, Basil Seal, to modernize his Empire, the fictional African island of Azania, located in the Indian Ocean off of the eastern...

 (1932). Waugh's next extended trip, in the winter of 1932–33, was to British Guiana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 (now Guyana) in South America, possibly taken to distract him from a long and unrequited passion for the socialite Teresa Jungman
Teresa Jungman
Teresa Jungman was the daughter of Nico Wilhelm Jungmann. Along with her sister Zita Jungman, she was one of the "Bright Young People" in the 1920s....

. On arrival in Georgetown
Georgetown, Guyana
Georgetown, estimated population 239,227 , is the capital and largest city of Guyana, located in the Demerara-Mahaica region. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean coast at the mouth of the Demerara River and it was nicknamed 'Garden City of the Caribbean.' Georgetown is located at . The city serves...

, Waugh arranged a river trip by steam launch into the interior. He travelled on via several staging-posts to Boa Vista
Boa Vista, Roraima
Boa Vista is the capital of the Brazilian state of Roraima. Situated on the western bank of the River Branco, the city lies 220 km away from Brazil's border with Venezuela. It is the only Brazilian capital located entirely above the Equator...

 in Brazil, then took a convoluted overland journey back to Georgetown. His various adventures and encounters found their way into two further books: his travel account Ninety-two days, and the novel A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust is a novel by Evelyn Waugh published in 1934. It is included in Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, and was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present....

, both published in 1934.

Back from South America, Waugh faced accusations of obscenity and blasphemy from the Catholic journal
The Tablet
The Tablet
The Tablet is a Catholic international weekly review published in London. Contributors to its pages have included Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Paul VI ....

, which objected to passages in Black Mischief. He defended himself in an open letter to the Archbishop of Westminster
Archbishop of Westminster
The Archbishop of Westminster heads the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Westminster, in England. The incumbent is the Metropolitan of the Province of Westminster and, as a matter of custom, is elected President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and therefore de facto spokesman...

, Cardinal Francis Bourne
Francis Bourne
Francis Alphonsus Bourne was an English prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Westminster from 1903 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1911.-Early life:...

. In the summer of 1934 he went on an expedition to Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen
Spitsbergen is the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in Norway. Constituting the western-most bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea...

 in the Arctic, an experience he did not enjoy and of which he made minimal literary use. On his return, determined to write a major Catholic biography, he selected the Jesuit martyr Edmund Campion
Edmund Campion
Saint Edmund Campion, S.J. was an English Roman Catholic martyr and Jesuit priest. While conducting an underground ministry in officially Protestant England, Campion was arrested by priest hunters. Convicted of high treason by a kangaroo court, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn...

 as his subject. The book, published in 1935, caused controversy through its forthright pro-Catholic, anti-Protestant stance but brought its writer the Hawthornden Prize
Hawthornden Prize
The Hawthornden Prize is a British literary award that was established in 1919 by Alice Warrender. Authors are awarded on the quality of their "imaginative literature" which can be written in either poetry or prose...

. He returned to Abyssinia in August 1935, to report the opening stages of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
The Second Italo–Abyssinian War was a colonial war that started in October 1935 and ended in May 1936. The war was fought between the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy and the armed forces of the Ethiopian Empire...

 for the Daily Mail. Waugh, on the basis of his earlier visit, considered Abyssinia "a savage place which Mussolini was doing well to tame", according to his fellow-reporter William Deedes
Bill Deedes
William Francis Deedes, Baron Deedes, KBE, MC, PC, DL was a British Conservative Party politician, army officer and journalist; he is to date the only person in Britain to have been both a member of the Cabinet and the editor of a major daily newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.-Early life and...

. Waugh saw little action, and was not wholly serious in his role as a war correspondent. Deedes remarks on the older writer's snobbery: "None of us quite measured up to the company he liked to keep back at home". However, in the face of imminent Italian air attacks, Deedes found Waugh's courage "deeply reassuring". Waugh wrote up his Abyssinian experiences in a book, Waugh in Abyssinia (1936), which Rose Macaulay
Rose Macaulay
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, DBE was an English writer. She published thirty-five books, mostly novels but also biographies and travel writing....

 dismissed as a "fascist tract" on account of its pro-Italian tone. A better-known account is his novel
Scoop
Scoop (novel)
Scoop is a 1938 novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, a satire of sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondence.-Plot:William Boot, a young man who lives in genteel poverty far from the iniquities of London, is contributor of nature notes to Lord Copper's Beast, a national newspaper...

 (1938), in which the protagonist, William Boot, is loosely based on Deedes.

Waugh's social circle in the 1930s expanded, with many new acquaintances among whom were Lady Diana Cooper
Lady Diana Cooper
Lady Diana Cooper, Viscountess Norwich was an English socialite and actress.-Birth and youth:Born Lady Diana Olivia Winifred Maud Manners, she was officially the youngest daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland and his wife, the former Violet Lindsay, but Lady Diana's real father was widely supposed...

 and her husband Duff Cooper
Duff Cooper
Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich GCMG, DSO, PC , known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and author. He wrote six books, including an autobiography, Old Men Forget, and a biography of Talleyrand...

, Nancy Mitford
Nancy Mitford
Nancy Freeman-Mitford, CBE , styled The Hon. Nancy Mitford before her marriage and The Hon. Mrs Peter Rodd thereafter, was an English novelist and biographer, one of the Bright Young People on the London social scene in the inter-war years...

 who was originally a friend of Evelyn Gardner's, and the Lygon sisters
Earl Beauchamp
Earl Beauchamp was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1815 for William Lygon, 1st Baron Beauchamp, along with the subsidiary title Viscount Elmley, in the County of Worcester. He had already been created Baron Beauchamp of Powyke in the County of Worcester, in 1806,...

. Waugh had known Hugh Patrick Lygon
Hugh Patrick Lygon
Hugh Patrick Lygon was the son of William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp, and is often believed to be the inspiration for Lord Sebastian Flyte in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. He was a friend of Waugh's at Oxford Hugh Patrick Lygon (2 November 1904 – 19 August 1936 Rothenburg, Bavaria) was the...

 at Oxford; now he was introduced to the girls and their country house, Madresfield Court
Madresfield Court
Madresfield Court is a country house in England, in the village of Madresfield near Malvern in Worcestershire. The stately home, near the village centre has been the ancestral home for several centuries of the Lygon family, whose eldest sons took the title of Earl Beauchamp from 1815 until 1979,...

, which became the closest that he had to a home during his years of wandering. In 1933, on a Greek islands cruise, he was introduced by Father D'Arcy to Gabriel Herbert, eldest daughter of the late explorer Aubrey Herbert
Aubrey Herbert
Aubrey Nigel Henry Molyneux Herbert was a British diplomat, traveller and intelligence officer associated with Albanian independence. Twice he was offered the throne of Albania...

. When the cruise ended Waugh was invited to stay at the Herbert family's villa in Portofino
Portofino
Portofino is a small Italian fishing village, comune and tourist resort located in the province of Genoa on the Italian Riviera. The town is crowded round its small harbour, is closely associated with Paraggi Beach, which is a few minutes up the coast...

, where he was introduced to Gabriel's 17-year-old sister, Laura Herbert.

Second marriage


On his conversion, Waugh had accepted that he would be unable to remarry while Evelyn Gardner was alive. However, he wanted a wife and children, and in October 1933 began proceedings for the annulment
Annulment (Catholic Church)
In the Roman Catholic Church an annulment is the procedure, governed by the Church's Canon Law and the Catechism, whereby an ecclesial tribunal determines the sacrament of marriage was invalidly entered into. An annulment determines the Catholic marriage to be void at its inception...

 of the marriage on the grounds of "lack of real consent". The case was heard by an ecclesiastical tribunal in London, but a delay in the submission of the papers to Rome meant that the annulment was not granted until 4 July 1936. In the meantime, following their initial encounter in Portofino, Waugh had fallen in love with Laura Herbert. He proposed marriage, by letter, in Spring 1936. There were initial misgivings from the Herberts
Herbert family
The Herbert family is an Anglo-Welsh dynasty founded by William Herbert, known as "Black William", the son of William ap Thomas, founder of Raglan Castle, a follower of Edward IV of England in the Wars of the Roses...

, an aristocratic Catholic family; as a further complication, Laura Herbert was a cousin of Evelyn Gardner. Despite some family hostility the marriage took place on 17 April 1937.

As a wedding present the bride's grandmother bought the couple Piers Court, a country house near Stinchcombe
Stinchcombe, Gloucestershire
Stinchcombe is a small village and civil parish in Gloucestershire, England on the B4060 road between Dursley and North Nibley. The church is called St Cyr's and its yard contains 40–60 gravestones....

 in Gloucestershire. Their first child, a daughter, Maria Teresa, was born on 9 March 1938 and a son, Auberon Alexander
Auberon Waugh
Auberon Alexander Waugh was a British author and journalist, son of the novelist Evelyn Waugh. He was known to his family and friends as Bron Waugh.-Life and career:...

, on 17 November 1939. Between these events, Scoop was published in May 1938 to wide critical acclaim. In August 1938 Waugh, with Laura, made a three-month trip to Mexico after which he wrote Robbery under Law, based on his experiences there. In the book he spelled out clearly his conservative credo; he later described the book as dealing "little with travel and much with political questions".

Royal Marine and commando


At the outbreak of the war in September 1939, Waugh left Piers Court and moved his young family to Pixton Park
Pixton Park
Pixton Park is a country house in the parish of Dulverton, Somerset, England. It is associated with at least three historically significant families or dynasties: the Acland Baronets, the politicians and diplomats the Herberts, and the Waughs, a series of writers...

 in Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, the Herbert family's country seat, while he sought military employment. He also began a novel, in a new style using first-person narration. Work on this project ceased when in December Waugh was commissioned into the Royal Marines
Royal Marines
The Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, commonly just referred to as the Royal Marines , are the marine corps and amphibious infantry of the United Kingdom and, along with the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, form the Naval Service...

 and began training at Chatham naval base. The novel was never completed; fragments were eventually published under the title Work Suspended.

Waugh was soon involved in a daily training routine that left him with "so stiff a spine that he found it painful even to pick up a pen". In April he was promoted temporarily to captain
Captain (British Army and Royal Marines)
Captain is a junior officer rank of the British Army and Royal Marines. It ranks above Lieutenant and below Major and has a NATO ranking code of OF-2. The rank is equivalent to a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and to a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force...

 and given command of a company
Company (military unit)
A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–225 soldiers and usually commanded by a Captain, Major or Commandant. Most companies are formed of three to five platoons although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure...

, but even after the German invasion of the Low Countries his battalion was not called into action. Waugh's inability to adapt to regimental life meant that he soon lost his command and became the battalion's Intelligence Officer. In this role he finally saw action, as part of the force sent in August 1940 to Dakar
Battle of Dakar
The Battle of Dakar, also known as Operation Menace, was an unsuccessful attempt in September 1940 by the Allies to capture the strategic port of Dakar in French West Africa , which was under Vichy French control, and to install the Free French under General Charles de Gaulle there.-Background:At...

 in Western Africa to support an attempt by Free French troops
Free French Forces
The Free French Forces were French partisans in World War II who decided to continue fighting against the forces of the Axis powers after the surrender of France and subsequent German occupation and, in the case of Vichy France, collaboration with the Germans.-Definition:In many sources, Free...

 to install General de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 as leader there. Hampered by fog, and misinformed about the extent of the town's defences, the mission was a failure, and on 26 September the British forces withdrew. Waugh commented that "Bloodshed has been avoided at the cost of honour."

In November 1940 Waugh was posted to a commando
Commando
In English, the term commando means a specific kind of individual soldier or military unit. In contemporary usage, commando usually means elite light infantry and/or special operations forces units, specializing in amphibious landings, parachuting, rappelling and similar techniques, to conduct and...

 unit and after further training became a member of "Layforce" under Brigadier Robert Laycock
Robert Laycock
Major General Sir Robert Edward Laycock KCMG, CB, DSO, KStJ was a British soldier, most famous for his service with the commandos during the Second World War...

. In February 1941 the unit sailed to the Mediterranean
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, where it participated in an unsuccessful attempt to recapture Bardia
Bardia
Bardia is a geographic region in the Democratic Republic of Nepal.Bardia comprises a portion of the Terai, or lowland hills and valleys of southern Nepal. The Terai is over 1,000 feet in elevation, and extends all along the Indian border...

, on the Libyan coast. In May the force was required to assist in the evacuation of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

; Waugh was shocked by the disorder, loss of discipline and, as he saw it, cowardice of the departing troops. On the roundabout journey home in July by troopship Waugh wrote Put Out More Flags, a novel of the early months of the war written in his familiar 1930s style. Back in England, more training and waiting followed, until in May 1942 Waugh was transferred, on Laycock's recommendation, to the Royal Horse Guards
Royal Horse Guards
The Royal Horse Guards was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, part of the Household Cavalry.Founded August 1650 in Newcastle Upon Tyne by Sir Arthur Haselrig on the orders of Oliver Cromwell as the Regiment of Cuirassiers, the regiment became the Earl of Oxford's Regiment during the reign of...

. On 10 June 1942 Laura gave birth to a fourth child, Margaret.

Frustration, Brideshead and Yugoslavia


Waugh's elation at his transfer soon descended into disillusion as he failed to find opportunities for active service. The death of his father on 26 June 1943, and the need to deal with family affairs, prevented Waugh from departing with his brigade for North Africa, as part of Operation Husky. Despite his undoubted courage, his unmilitary and insubordinate character was making him effectively unemployable. After spells of idleness at the regimental depot in Windsor
Windsor, Berkshire
Windsor is an affluent suburban town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family....

, Waugh began parachute training at Tatton Park
Tatton Park
Tatton Park is a historic estate in Cheshire, England, to the north of the town of Knutsford. It contains a mansion, Tatton Hall, a manor house dating from medieval times, Tatton Old Hall, gardens, a farm and a deer park of . It is a popular visitor attraction and hosts over 100 events annually...

, landed awkwardly and fractured a fibula. Recovering at Windsor, he applied for three months' unpaid leave to write the novel that was forming in his mind. His request was granted, and on 31 January 1944 he departed for Chagford
Chagford
Chagford is a small town and civil parish on the north-east edge of Dartmoor, in Devon, England, close to the River Teign. It is located off the A382, about 4 miles west of Moretonhampstead. The name Chagford is derived from the word chag, meaning gorse or broom, and the ford suffix indicates its...

 in Devon
Devon
Devon is a large county in southwestern England. The county is sometimes referred to as Devonshire, although the term is rarely used inside the county itself as the county has never been officially "shired", it often indicates a traditional or historical context.The county shares borders with...

, where he could work in seclusion. The result of his labours was Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited
Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel "deals with what is theologically termed 'the operation of Grace', that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by...

, the first of Waugh's explicitly "Catholic" novels and, biographer Douglas Lane Patey
Douglas Lane Patey
Douglas Lane Patey is Sophia Smith Professor of English at Smith College in Northampton, MA. He received M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1977 and 1978 and his Ph.D from the same university in 1979, with a thesis on "Probability and Literary Form"...

 observes, "the book that seemed to confirm his new sense of his writerly vocation".

Waugh managed to extend his leave until June 1944. Soon after his return to duty he was recruited by Randolph Churchill
Randolph Churchill
Major Randolph Frederick Edward Spencer-Churchill, MBE was the son of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine. He was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Preston from 1940 to 1945....

 to serve in a military mission to Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, and early in July flew with Churchill to the Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n island of Vis
Vis (island)
Vis is the most outerly lying larger Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, and is part of the Central Dalmatian group of islands, with an area of 90.26 km² and a population of 3,617 . Of all the inhabited Croatian islands, it is the farthest from the coast...

. Here they were introduced to Marshal Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

, leader of the Partisans
Partisans (Yugoslavia)
The Yugoslav Partisans, or simply the Partisans were a Communist-led World War II anti-fascist resistance movement in Yugoslavia...

 who, with Allied support, were leading the fight against the occupying Axis forces
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

. Waugh and Churchill returned to Bari
Bari
Bari is the capital city of the province of Bari and of the Apulia region, on the Adriatic Sea, in Italy. It is the second most important economic centre of mainland Southern Italy after Naples, and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicholas...

 in Italy before flying back to Yugoslavia to begin their mission, but their plane crashed on landing, injuring both and delaying them for a month.

Eventually the mission arrived at Topusko
Topusko
Topusko is a spa town in Sisak-Moslavina County, Croatia.-Demographics:The population of the town of Topusko is 798, with a total of 3,219 people in the municipality . There are 2045 Croats , 954 Serbs and 65 Bosniaks .Prior to the war, there were 1,587 people in Topusko, of which most were Serbs...

, where they established themselves in a deserted farmhouse. The group's duties—liaising between the British army and the Partisans—were light; in any event, Waugh had little sympathy with the communist-led Partisans and despised Tito. His chief interest became the welfare of the Catholic Church in Croatia, which he believed had suffered at the hands of the Serbian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Orthodox Christian churches, ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Russia...

 and would fare worse when the communists took control. He expressed these thoughts in a long report, "Church and State in Liberated Croatia". After spells in Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea coast, positioned at the terminal end of the Isthmus of Dubrovnik. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations on the Adriatic, a seaport and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva county. Its total population is 42,641...

 and Rome, Waugh returned to London on 15 March 1945 to present his report, which was suppressed by the Foreign Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

 who were anxious to maintain good relations with Tito.

Antisemitism


Before World War II Waugh applied regularly antisemitic characterisatizations in his work as in his daily life. This is later understood as deriving from his upper-class British snobbery
Snob
A snob is someone who believes that some people are inherently inferior to him or her for any one of a variety of reasons, including real or supposed intellect, wealth, education, ancestry, taste, beauty, nationality, et cetera. Often, the form of snobbery reflects the snob's personal attributes...

 and his view that Jews were agents of capitalism, democracy, and secularism. After the war, the antisemitism was less outspoken, but still present in his work

Fame and fortune


Brideshead Revisited was published in London in May 1945. Waugh had been convinced of the book's qualities, "my first novel rather than my last". It was a tremendous success, bringing its author fame, fortune and literary status. Happy though he was with this outcome, Waugh's principal concern as the war ended was the fate of the large populations of Eastern European Catholics, betrayed (as he saw it) into the hands of Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 by the Allies. He now saw little difference in morality between the war's combatants, and later described it as "a sweaty tug-of-war between teams of indistinguishable louts". Although he took momentary pleasure from the defeat of Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 and the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 in the July 1945 Election, he saw the accession to power of the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 as a triumph of barbarism and the onset of a "Dark Age".

In September 1945, after release by the army, he returned to Piers Court with his family (another daughter, Harriet, had been born at Pixton in 1944), but spent much of the next seven years either in London, or travelling. In March 1946 he visited the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

, and later that year he was in Spain for a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Francisco de Vittoria
Francisco de Vitoria
Francisco de Vitoria, OP was a Spanish Renaissance Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian and jurist, founder of the tradition in philosophy known as the School of Salamanca, noted especially for his contributions to the theory of just war and international law...

, said to be the founder of International Law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

. Waugh wrote up his experiences of the frustrations of post-war European travel in a novella
Novella
A novella is a written, fictional, prose narrative usually longer than a novelette but shorter than a novel. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Nebula Awards for science fiction define the novella as having a word count between 17,500 and 40,000...

, Scott-King's Modern Europe
Scott-King's Modern Europe
Scott-King's Modern Europe, published in 1947, is a long short story or novella by Evelyn Waugh, sometimes called A Sojourn in Neutralia...

. In February 1947 he made the first of several trips to the United States, in the first instance to discuss filming of Brideshead. This project collapsed, but Waugh used his time in Hollywood to visit the Forest Lawn cemetery
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
Forest Lawn – Hollywood Hills Cemetery is part of the Forest Lawn chain of Southern California cemeteries. It is at 6300 Forest Lawn Drive in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, California, on the lower north slope at the far east end of the Santa Monica...

, which provided the basis for his satire of American perspectives on death,
The Loved One
The Loved One
The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy is a short satirical novel by British novelist Evelyn Waugh about the funeral business in Los Angeles, the British expatriate community in Hollywood, and the film industry.-Conception:...

. In 1951 he visited the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

 with his future biographer, Christopher Sykes, and in 1953 he travelled to Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 to witness the final exhibition before burial of the remains of the 16th century Jesuit missionary-priest St Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier
Francis Xavier, born Francisco de Jasso y Azpilicueta was a pioneering Roman Catholic missionary born in the Kingdom of Navarre and co-founder of the Society of Jesus. He was a student of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first seven Jesuits, dedicated at Montmartre in 1534...

.

In between his journeys Waugh worked intermittently on
Helena, a long-planned novel about the discoverer of the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

, "far the best book I have ever written or ever will write". Its success with the public was limited, although it was, his daughter Harriet later said, "the only one of his books that he ever cared to read aloud". In 1952 Waugh published
Men at Arms
Sword of Honour
The Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh is his look at the Second World War. It consists of three novels, Men at Arms , Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender , which loosely parallel his wartime experiences...

, the first of his semi-autobiographical war trilogy, in which he depicted many of his personal experiences and encounters from the early stages of the war. Other books published during this period included When The Going Was Good
When the Going Was Good
When The Going Was Good is an anthology of four travel books written by English author Evelyn Waugh. The book consists of fragments from the travel books Labels , Remote People , Ninety-Two Days , and Waugh In Abyssinia . The author writes that these pages are all that he wishes to preserve of the...

(1946), an anthology of his pre-war travel writing, and Love Among the Ruins
Love Among the Ruins. A Romance of the Near Future
Love Among the Ruins: A Romance of the Near Future is a novel by Evelyn Waugh which was first published in 1953.Love Among the Ruins is a satire set in a dystopian quasi-egalitarian Britain. The protagonist, Miles Plastic, is an orphan who at the beginning of the story is finishing a prison term...

 (1953), a dystopia
Dystopia
A dystopia is the idea of a society in a repressive and controlled state, often under the guise of being utopian, as characterized in books like Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four...

n tale in which Waugh displays his contempt for the modern world, At 50, Waugh was old for his years, "selectively deaf, rheumatic, irascible", increasingly dependent on alcohol and on drugs to relieve his insomnia and depression. Two more children, James (born 1946) and Septimus (born 1950), completed his family.

From 1945 onwards Waugh became an avid collector of objects, particularly Victorian paintings and furniture. He filled Piers Court with his acquisitions, often from London's Portobello Market and from house clearance sales. His diary entry for 30 August 1946 records a visit to Gloucester where he bought "a lion of wood, finely carved for £25, also a bookcase £35 ... a charming Chinese painting £10, a Regency easel £7". Some of his buying was shrewd and prescient; he paid £10 for Rossetti's "Spirit of the Rainbow" to begin a collection of Victorian paintings that eventually acquired great value. Waugh also began, from 1949, to write knowledgeable reviews and articles on the subject of painting.

Breakdown


By 1953 Waugh's popularity as a writer was declining. He was perceived as out of step with the Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.The...

, and the large fees he demanded were no longer easily available. His money was running out, and progress on the second book of his war trilogy, Officers and Gentlemen, had stalled. Partly because of his dependency on drugs, his health was steadily deteriorating. Shortage of cash led him to agree, in November 1953 to be interviewed on BBC radio, where the panel took an aggressive line. "[T]hey tried to make a fool of me, and I don't think they entirely succeeded", Waugh wrote to Nancy Mitford. Peter Fleming in The Spectator
The Spectator
The Spectator is a weekly British magazine first published on 6 July 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also owns The Daily Telegraph. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture...

 likened the interview to "the goading of a bull by matadors".

Early in 1954 Waugh's doctors, concerned by his physical deterioration, advised a change of scene. On 29 January he took a ship bound for Ceylon
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, hoping that he would be able to finish his novel. Within a few days he was writing home complaining of "other passengers whispering about me" and of hearing voices, including that of his recent BBC interlocutor Stephen Black. He left the ship in Egypt and flew on to Colombo
Colombo
Colombo is the largest city of Sri Lanka. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the capital of Sri Lanka. Colombo is often referred to as the capital of the country, since Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte is a satellite city of Colombo...

 but, he wrote to Laura, the voices followed him. Alarmed, Laura sought help from her friend Frances Donaldson, whose husband agreed to fly out to Ceylon and bring Waugh home. In fact Waugh made his own way back, by now believing that he was being possessed by devils. A brief medical examination indicated that Waugh was suffering from bromide poisoning
Bromism
Bromism is the syndrome which results from the long-term use of the potassium bromide based sedatives. Bromism was once a very common disorder being responsible for 5-10% of psychiatric hospital admissions. It is now an uncommon disorder due to bromide being withdrawn from clinical use in many...

  from his drugs regime. When his medication was changed the voices and other hallucinations quickly disappeared. Waugh was delighted, informing all of his friends that he had been mad: "Clean off my onion!". The experience was semi-fictionalised a few years later in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold
The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold
The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold is a novel first published in 1957 by English writer Evelyn Waugh. Strong parallels may be drawn between events in the novel overtaking the eponymous protagonist, Gilbert Pinfold, and episodes in the author's own life...

(1957).

Late works



Restored to health, Waugh returned to work and finished
Officers and Gentlemen. In June 1955 the Daily Express journalist and reviewer Nancy Spain
Nancy Spain
Nancy Brooker Spain was a prominent English broadcaster and journalist.She spent much of her youth in Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne. Her father was Lieutenant-Colonel Spain, a freeman of the city and a prominent figure in local military and antiquarian affairs...

, accompanied by her friend Lord Noel-Buxton, arrived uninvited at Piers Court and demanded an interview. Waugh saw the pair off, and wrote a wry account for
The Spectator, but was troubled by the incident, and decided to sell Piers Court; "I felt it was polluted", he told Nancy Mitford. Late in 1956 the family moved to the manor house in the Somerset village of Combe Florey
Combe Florey
Combe Florey is a village and civil parish in Somerset, England, situated north west of Taunton in the Taunton Deane district, on the West Somerset Railway. The village has a population of 252...

. In January 1957 Waugh avenged the Spain–Noel-Buxton intrusion by winning libel damages from the
Express and Spain. The paper had printed an article by Spain, suggesting that the sales of Waugh's books were much lower than they were and that his worth as a journalist was low.

Pinfold was published in the summer of 1957, "my barmy book", Waugh called it. The extent to which the story is self-mockery rather than true autobiography became a subject of critical debate. Waugh's next major book was a biography of his long-time friend, the Catholic writer and theologian Fr. Ronald Knox
Ronald Knox
Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an English priest, theologian and writer.-Life:Ronald Knox was born in Kibworth, Leicestershire, England into an Anglican family and was educated at Eton College, where he took the first scholarship in 1900 and Balliol College, Oxford, where again...

, who had died in August 1957. Research and writing extended over two years, during which time Waugh did little other work, delaying the third volume of his war trilogy. In June 1958 his son Auberon was severely wounded in a shooting accident while serving with the army in Cyprus. Waugh remained detached; he did not go to Cyprus, nor did he immediately visit Auberon on the latter's return to England. Critic and literary biographer David Wykes calls Waugh's sang-froid "astonishing", and the family's apparent acceptance of his behaviour even more so.

Although most of Waugh's books had sold well, and he had been well-rewarded for his journalism, his levels of expenditure meant that money problems and tax bills were a recurrent feature in his life. In 1950, as a means of tax avoidance, he had set up a trust fund for his children (he termed it the "Save the Children Fund", after the well-established charity of that name
Save the Children
Save the Children is an internationally active non-governmental organization that enforces children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries...

) into which he placed the initial advance and all future royalties from the Penguin (paperback) editions of his books. He was able to augment his personal finances by charging household items to the trust, or by selling his own possessions to it. Nonetheless, by 1960 shortage of money led him to agree to an interview on BBC Television, in the Face to Face series conducted by John Freeman. The interview was broadcast on 26 June 1960; according to his biographer Selena Hastings, Waugh restrained his instinctive hostility and coolly answered the questions put to him by Freeman, assuming what she calls a "pose of world-weary boredom".

In 1960 Waugh declined the invitation of appointment to the CBE
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

, believing that he should have been knighted. In September he produced his final travel book, A Tourist in Africa, based on a visit made in January–March 1959. He enjoyed the trip, but "despised" the book. Critic Cyril Connolly
Cyril Connolly
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon and wrote Enemies of Promise , which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of...

 called it " the thinnest piece of book-making that Mr Waugh has undertaken". This book done, he worked on the last of the war novels, which was published in 1961 as
Unconditional Surrender.

Decline and death


As he approached his sixties, Waugh was in poor health, prematurely aged, "fat, deaf, short of breath" according to Patey. Biographer Martin Stannard likened his appearance around this time to that of "an exhausted rogue jollied up by drink". In 1962 Waugh began work on his autobiography, and that same year wrote his final fiction, the long short story
Basil Seal Rides Again. This revival of the main protagonist of Put Out More Flags was published in 1963; the Times Literary Supplement called it a "nasty little book". When the first volume of autobiography, A Little Learning, was published in 1964 its often oblique tone and discreet name-changes ensured that friends avoided the embarrassments that some had feared.

Waugh had welcomed the accession in 1958 of Pope John XXIII
Pope John XXIII
-Papal election:Following the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, Roncalli was elected Pope, to his great surprise. He had even arrived in the Vatican with a return train ticket to Venice. Many had considered Giovanni Battista Montini, Archbishop of Milan, a possible candidate, but, although archbishop...

, and wrote an appreciative tribute on the pope's death in 1963. However, he became increasingly concerned by the decisions emerging from the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

, which was convened by Pope John in October 1962 and continued under his successor
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 until 1965. Waugh, a staunch opponent of Church reform, was particularly distressed by the replacement of the universal Latin Mass
Latin Mass
The term Latin Mass refers to the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in Latin.The term is frequently used to denote the Tridentine Mass: that is, the Roman-Rite liturgy of the Mass celebrated in accordance with the successive editions of the Roman Missal published between 1570 and 1962...

 with the vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

. In a Spectator article of 23 November 1962 he argued the case against change in a manner described by a later commentator as "sharp-edged reasonableness". He wrote to Nancy Mitford that "the buggering up of the Church is a deep sorrow to me... We write letters to the paper. A fat lot of good that does."

In 1965 a new financial crisis arose from an apparent flaw in the terms of the "Save the Children" trust, whereby a large sum of back tax was being demanded. Waugh's agent, AD Peters, negotiated a settlement with the tax authorities for a manageable amount, but in his concern to generate funds Waugh signed contracts to write several books, including a history of the papacy, an illustrated book on the crusades and a second volume of autobiography. Waugh's physical and mental deterioration prevented any work on these projects, and the contracts were cancelled. He described himself as "toothless, deaf, melancholic, shaky on my pins, unable to eat, full of dope, quite idle", and expressed the belief that "all fates were worse than death". His only significant literary activity in 1965 was the editing of the three war novels into a single volume, published as Sword of Honour.

On Easter Day, 10 April 1966, after attending a Latin Mass in a neighbouring village with members of his family, Waugh died suddenly of heart failure at his Combe Florey home. He was buried, by special arrangement, in a consecrated plot outside the Anglican churchyard in Combe Florey. A Requiem Mass, in Latin, was celebrated in Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral in London is the mother church of the Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster...

 on 21 April 1966.

Character and opinions


In the course of his lifetime Waugh made enemies, and offended many people; writer James Lees-Milne
James Lees-Milne
James Lees-Milne was an English writer and expert on country houses. He was an architectural historian, novelist, and a biographer. He is also remembered as a diarist.-Biography:...

 asserted that he was "the nastiest-tempered man in England". He had been a bully at school, and retained an intimidating presence throughout his life; his son Auberon remarked that the force of his father's personality was such that, despite his lack of height, "generals and chancellors of the exchequer, six foot six and exuding self-importance from every pore, quail[ed] in front of him."

However, according to Paula Byrne, whose partial biography Mad World was published in 2009, the common view of Waugh as a "snobbish misanthrope" is a caricature; she asks: "Why would a man who was so unpleasant be so beloved by such a wide circle of friends?" His generosity to individuals and causes, particularly Catholic causes, extended to small gestures; after his libel court victory over Nancy Spain he sent her a bottle of champagne. Hastings suggests that his outward belligerence to strangers was not entirely serious but, rather, an attempt at "finding a sparring partner worthy of his own wit and ingenuity". He mocked himself as well as others; Byrne believes that the elderly buffer, "crusty colonel" image he presented in his later life was a comic impersonation, rather than his real self.

As an instinctive conservative, Waugh believed that class divisions, with inequalities of wealth and position, were natural, and that "no form of government [was] ordained by God as being better than any other". In the postwar "Age of the Common Man" he attacked socialism (the "Cripps–Attlee terror") and complained, after Churchill's return to power in 1951, that "the Conservative Party have never put the clock back a single second". He never voted in elections; in 1959 he expressed a hope that the Conservatives would win the General Election, but would not vote for them since "I should feel I was morally inculpated in their follies". He added: "I do not aspire to advise my sovereign in her choice of servants."

Waugh's Catholicism was fundamental: "The Church... is the normal state of man from which men have disastrously exiled themselves." He believed the Church was the last great defence against the encroachment of the Dark Age being ushered in by the welfare state
Welfare state
A welfare state is a "concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those...

 and the spread of working-class culture. Strictly observant, he admitted to Diana Cooper that his most difficult task was how to square the obligations of his faith with his indifference to his fellow men. When asked by Nancy Mitford how he reconciled his often objectionable conduct with being a Christian, he replied that "were he not a Christian he would be even more horrible".

Waugh's conservatism was aesthetic as well as political and religious. Although he praised younger writers such as Angus Wilson
Angus Wilson
Sir Angus Frank Johnstone Wilson, CBE was an English novelist and short story writer. He was awarded the 1958 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for The Middle Age of Mrs Eliot and later received a knighthood for his services to literature.-Biography:Wilson was born in Bexhill, Sussex, England, to...

, Muriel Spark
Muriel Spark
Dame Muriel Spark, DBE was an award-winning Scottish novelist. In 2008 The Times newspaper named Spark in its list of "the 50 greatest British writers since 1945".-Early life:...

 and V.S. Naipaul, he was scornful of the 1950s writers' group known as "The Movement"
The Movement (literature)
The Movement was a term coined by J. D. Scott, literary editor of The Spectator, in 1954 to describe a group of writers including Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, D.J. Enright, John Wain, Elizabeth Jennings, Thom Gunn, and Robert Conquest...

. He expressed a belief that the literary world was "sinking into black disaster", and that literature itself might die within 30 years. Waugh, who as a schoolboy had praised Cubism, soon abandoned his interest in artistic modernism. In 1945 he was writing that Picasso's standing was the result of a "mesmeric trick"; his paintings "could not be intelligently discussed in the terms used of the civilised masters". In his 1953 radio interview he named Augustus Egg
Augustus Egg
Augustus Leopold Egg 2 May 1816 in London, England – 26 March 1863) was a Victorian artist best known for his modern triptych Past and Present , which depicts the breakup of a middle-class Victorian family.-Biography:...

 (1816–63) as a painter for whom he had particular esteem. He came to admire George Orwell
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair , better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist...

 because of their shared patriotism and sense of morality.

Feud with C. R. M. F. Cruttwell


When Waugh joined Hertford College he received a congratulatory letter from the dean, C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell was a British historian and academic who served as dean and later principal of Hertford College, Oxford. His field of expertise was modern European history, his most notable work being A History of the Great War, 1914–18...

, welcoming him to the college and complimenting him on his English style: "about the best of any of the Candidates in the group". Despite this warmth, Waugh's initial impressions of his tutor were unfavourable—"not at all the kind of don for whom I had been prepared by stories of Jowett
Benjamin Jowett
Benjamin Jowett was renowned as an influential tutor and administrative reformer in the University of Oxford, a theologian and translator of Plato. He was Master of Balliol College, Oxford.-Early career:...

." The first recorded clash between them came early in Waugh's first term; in a letter to his schoolfriend Dudley Carew
Dudley Carew
Dudley Charles Carew was an English journalist, writer, poet and film critic. He was a special correspondent of The Times in the 1920s and 1930s, and reported on cricket matches for the paper. From 1945 until his retirement in 1963 he was the paper's film critic...

, Waugh reports that his tutor verbally abused him for a Latin mistranslation with the words "Damn you, you're a scholar!". The main basis for the rift that rapidly developed was Waugh's increasingly casual attitude towards his scholarship. Whereas Cruttwell saw the scholarship as a commitment to hard and devoted study, Waugh considered it a reward for his successful school studies and a passport to a life of pleasure. Waugh soon involved himself in a range of university activities—the Oxford Union
Oxford Union
The Oxford Union Society, commonly referred to simply as the Oxford Union, is a debating society in the city of Oxford, Britain, whose membership is drawn primarily but not exclusively from the University of Oxford...

, the Hertford debating society, journalism and drawings for the undergraduate papers Isis
Isis magazine
The Isis Magazine was established at Oxford University in 1892 . Traditionally a rival to the student newspaper Cherwell, it was finally acquired by the latter's publishing house, OSPL, in the late 1990s...

and Cherwell
Cherwell (newspaper)
Cherwell is an independent newspaper, largely published for students of Oxford University. First published in 1920, it has had an online edition since 1996. Named after the local river, Cherwell is published by OSPL , who also publish the sister publication ISIS along with the Etcetera Supplement...

, and a hectic social life. In his third term Waugh was brusquely advised by Cruttwell that he should take his studies more seriously, a warning which Waugh chose to interpret as an insult. "I think it was from then on that our mutual dislike became incurable", he later wrote.

During his remaining time at Hertford, Waugh missed few opportunities to ridicule the dean. He did this in numerous unsigned contributions to Isis; these included an article in March 1924, in the "Isis Idols" series. Here, according to Waugh's biographer Martin Stannard, the mockery was cleverly disguised as a paean of praise, arranged around an unflattering photograph of Cruttwell displaying "bad teeth within an unfortunate smile". In Cherwell, in August 1923, Waugh published a short story, "Edward of Unique Achievement", in which the protagonist, a history student at an Oxford college, murders his tutor, "Mr Curtis" (who is, among other things, revealed to be a sexual deviant). Waugh and an accomplice spread a rumour that Cruttwell favoured sex with animals; they bought a stuffed dog which they placed in the college quadrangle, and began the practice of barking under the dean's window. Cruttwell made no apparent response to these provocations other than a dismissive reference to Waugh as "a silly suburban sod with an inferiority complex".

Waugh left Hertford in the summer of 1924 with a third class degree
British undergraduate degree classification
The British undergraduate degree classification system is a grading scheme for undergraduate degrees in the United Kingdom...

 and a brief note from Cruttwell expressing disappointment with this performance. Although the pair never met again, a few years later Cruttwell spoke disparagingly of Waugh to the latter's prospective mother-in-law, Lady Burghclere, describing him as vice-ridden and "living off vodka and absinthe". Once Waugh had established himself as a writer he resumed the vendetta against his former tutor by introducing a succession of unsavoury or ridiculous characters called "Cruttwell" into his novels and stories. Thus, in Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall
Decline and Fall is a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1928. It was Waugh's first published novel; an earlier attempt, entitled The Temple at Thatch, was destroyed by Waugh while still in manuscript form. Decline and Fall is based in part on Waugh's undergraduate years...

(1928) "Toby Cruttwell" is a psychopathic burglar; in Vile Bodies
Vile Bodies
Vile Bodies is a 1930 novel by Evelyn Waugh satirising the Bright Young People: decadent young London society between World War I and World War II.-Title:The title comes from the Epistle to the Philippians 3:21...

(1930) the name belongs to a snobbish Conservative MP. In Black Mischief
Black Mischief
Black Mischief was Evelyn Waugh's third novel, published in 1932. The novel chronicles the efforts of the English-educated Emperor Seth, assisted by a fellow Oxford graduate, Basil Seal, to modernize his Empire, the fictional African island of Azania, located in the Indian Ocean off of the eastern...

(1932) "Cruttwell" is a social parasite, and he becomes a dubious "bone-setter" in A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust
A Handful of Dust is a novel by Evelyn Waugh published in 1934. It is included in Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels, and was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the one hundred best English-language novels from 1923 to present....

(1934). In Scoop
Scoop (novel)
Scoop is a 1938 novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh, a satire of sensationalist journalism and foreign correspondence.-Plot:William Boot, a young man who lives in genteel poverty far from the iniquities of London, is contributor of nature notes to Lord Copper's Beast, a national newspaper...

 (1938), "General Cruttwell" is a salesman with a fake tropical tan at the Army & Navy Stores. The 1935 short story "Mr Loveday's Little Outing", which recounts the grisly deeds of an escaped homicidal maniac, was originally published as "Mr Cruttwell's Little Outing". The final Cruttwell reference in Waugh's fiction came in 1939, in the short story "An Englishman's Home", in the form of an embezzling Wolf Cub
Cub Scout
A Cub Scout is a member of the section of the worldwide Scouting movement for young persons, mainly boys normally aged about 7 to 11. In some countries they are known by their original name of Wolf Cubs and are often referred to simply as Cubs. The movement is often referred to simply as Cubbing...

 master. In 1935, in an additional gesture of sarcastic ridicule, Waugh told a survey in which modern novelists were asked to nominate their best work that his choice was as yet unwritten: "It is the memorial biography of C.R.M.F. Cruttwell, some time Dean of Hertford College, Oxford, and my old history tutor. It is a labour of love to one to whom, under God, I owe everything". As with Waugh's student tauntings, there is no record of any reaction from Cruttwell, although according to Stannard he anticipated each new Waugh novel with much trepidation about how he might be portrayed. Although there clearly was a genuine mutual animosity between Cruttwell and Waugh, Hastings points out that Cruttwell had many occasions to suspend Waugh from the college, but did not do so.

Cruttwell, whose health had suffered from the effects of his war wounds, was subject to recurrent rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever
Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease that occurs following a Streptococcus pyogenes infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever. Believed to be caused by antibody cross-reactivity that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain, the illness typically develops two to three weeks after...

. In 1939 his poor physical condition led to his early retirement from the Hertford principalship. This was followed by a period of mental illness, possibly exacerbated by the continuing mockery from Waugh. Eventually he was confined to a mental hospital, the Burden Institute at Stapleton
Stapleton, Bristol
Stapleton is an area in the north-eastern suburbs of the city of Bristol, England. The name is colloquially used today to describe the ribbon village along Bell Hill and Park Road in the Frome Valley. It borders Eastville to the South and Begbrook and Frenchay to the North...

, near Bristol
Bristol
Bristol is a city, unitary authority area and ceremonial county in South West England, with an estimated population of 433,100 for the unitary authority in 2009, and a surrounding Larger Urban Zone with an estimated 1,070,000 residents in 2007...

, where he died on 14 March 1941, aged 53.

Themes and style


Wykes observes that Waugh's novels reprise and fictionalise the main events of his life, although in an early essay Waugh declares that "Nothing is more insulting to a novelist than to assume that he is incapable of anything but the mere transcription of what he observes". Nor, Waugh emphasises, should it be taken that the author agreed with the opinions expressed by his characters. Nevertheless, according to Ann Pasternak Slater in her introduction to Waugh's Complete Short Stories, "[the] delineation of social prejudices and the language in which they are expressed is part of Waugh's meticulous observation of his contemporary world".

Waugh is widely regarded as a master of style. In the view of critic Clive James
Clive James
Clive James, AM is an Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet and memoirist, best known for his autobiographical series Unreliable Memoirs, for his chat shows and documentaries on British television and for his prolific journalism...

, "Nobody ever wrote a more unaffectedly elegant English ... its hundreds of years of steady development culminate in him". As his talent developed and matured he maintained what literary critic Andrew Michael Roberts calls "an exquisite sense of the ludicrous, and a fine aptitude for exposing false attitudes". In the first stages of his 40-year writing career, before his conversion to Catholicism in 1930, Waugh was the novelist of the Bright Young People
Bright Young People
The Bright Young People was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They threw elaborate fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London, and drank heavily and experimented with drugs—all of which...

 generation. His first two novels, Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies, comically reflect a society of utter futility, peopled by two-dimensional, basically unbelievable characters in circumstances too fantastic to evoke the reader's emotions. Much use is made of what Slater describes as a typical Waugh trademark: rapid, unattributed dialogue in which the participants can still be easily identified. Alongside these works Waugh mixed into his journalism a few serious essays, such as "The War and the Younger Generation", in which he castigates his own "crazy and sterile" generation. Waugh's conversion did not significantly change the nature of his next two novels, Black Mischief and A Handful of Dust although, in the latter at least, the farcical elements are muted and its protagonist, Tony Last, is recognisably a person rather than a comic cipher. Waugh's first fiction on a Catholic theme was the 1933 short story "Out of Depth", about the immutability of the Mass. From the mid-1930s onwards his journalism and non-fiction writings were increasingly concerned with Catholicism and conservative politics, before he reverted to his former manner with Scoop, published in 1939.

In the 1939 fragment
Work Suspended, Waugh's style changes to a form which, with "real" characters and a first-person narrator, presages Brideshead Revisited five years later. Brideshead, which questions the meaning of human existence without God, is the first of Waugh's novels in which his political and religious views come clearly into view. In his 1946 article in Life
Life (magazine)
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....

 magazine, "Fan Fare", Waugh writes that "you can only leave God out [of fiction] by making your characters pure abstractions", and in the same article declares his future novelistic intentions as "the attempt to represent man more fully which, to me, means only one thing, man in his relation to God." His next novel was
Helena, the most uncompromisingly Christian of his books.

In
Brideshead, through the person of the proletarian junior officer Hooper, Waugh introduces a further theme that persists in his post-war fiction: the rise of mediocrity in the Age of the Common Man. In the Sword of Honour trilogy this process is depicted through the semi-comical figure of Trimmer, a sloven and fraud who through contrivance emerges triumphant. Waugh's pessimistic view of the future is summarised in the 1947 story "Scott-King's Modern Europe", by the schoolmaster's admonition: "I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world". This cynicism pervades the short novel Love Among the Ruins (1952), set in a world so disagreeable that euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

 is the most sought-after social service. Of the post-war novels,
Pinfold stands apart as, in Patey's description, "a kind of mock-novel, a sly invitation to a game". Waugh's last fiction, "Basil Seal Rides Again", in which several characters from the prewar novels are resurrected, was "[a] senile attempt to recapture the manner of my youth". Slater notes that this last story begins in identical fashion to Waugh's first, "The Balance", with a "fusillade of unattributed dialogue".

Reception


Of Waugh's early books, Decline and Fall was hailed by Arnold Bennett
Arnold Bennett
- Early life :Bennett was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. Hanley is one of a conurbation of six towns which joined together at the beginning of the twentieth century as Stoke-on-Trent. Enoch Bennett, his father, qualified as a solicitor in 1876, and the...

 in the
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...

as "an uncompromising and brilliantly malicious satire". The critical reception of Vile Bodies two years later was even more enthusiastic, with Rebecca West predicting that Waugh was "destined to be the dazzling figure of his age". However, A Handful of Dust, later widely regarded as Waugh's masterpiece, received a more muted welcome from critics, despite Waugh's own high estimation of the work. The book's ending, with Tony Last condemned forever to read Dickens to his mad jungle captor, was thought by author and critic Henry Yorke
Henry Green
Henry Green was the nom de plume of Henry Vincent Yorke , an English author best remembered for the novel Loving, which was featured by Time in its list of the 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.- Biography :Green was born near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, into an educated family...

 to reduce an otherwise believable book to "phantasy". Cyril Connolly
Cyril Connolly
Cyril Vernon Connolly was an English intellectual, literary critic and writer. He was the editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon and wrote Enemies of Promise , which combined literary criticism with an autobiographical exploration of why he failed to become the successful author of...

's first reaction to the book was that Waugh's powers were failing, an opinion he later revised.

In the latter 1930s Waugh's inclination to Catholic and conservative polemics affected his standing with the general reading public. The Campion biography is said by David Wykes to be "so rigidly biased that it has no claims to make as history". The pro-fascist tone in parts of Waugh in Abyssinia offended readers and critics, and prevented its publication in America. There was general relief among critics when Scoop, in 1939, indicated a return to Waugh's earlier comic style; critics had begun to think that his wit had been displaced by partisanship and propaganda.

Waugh maintained his reputation in 1942 with
Put Out More Flags, which sold well, despite wartime restrictions on paper and printing. Its public reception, however, did not compare with that accorded to Brideshead Revisited three years later, on both sides of the Atlantic. Bridesheads selection as the American Book of the Month
Book of the Month Club
The Book of the Month Club is a United States mail-order book sales club that offers a new book each month to customers.The Book of the Month Club is part of a larger company that runs many book clubs in the United States and Canada. It was formerly the flagship club of Book-of-the-Month Club, Inc...

 swelled its US sales to an extent that dwarfed those in Britain, which was affected by paper shortages. Despite the public's enthusiasm, critical opinion was split. Brideshead's Catholic standpoint offended some critics who had greeted Waugh’s earlier novels with warm praise. Its perceived snobbery and its deference to the aristocracy were attacked by, among others, Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien
Conor Cruise O'Brien often nicknamed "The Cruiser", was an Irish politician, writer, historian and academic. Although his opinion on the role of Britain in Northern Ireland changed over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, he always acknowledge values of, as he saw, the two irreconcilable traditions...

 who, in the Irish literary magazine The Bell
The Bell (magazine)
The Bell Magazine Dublin, Ireland. A monthly magazine of literature and social comment which had a seminal influence on a generation of Irish intellectuals.- History :...

, wrote of Waugh's "almost mystical veneration" for the upper classes. Fellow-writer Rose Macaulay
Rose Macaulay
Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay, DBE was an English writer. She published thirty-five books, mostly novels but also biographies and travel writing....

 believed that Waugh's genius had been adversely affected by the intrusion of his right-wing partisan alter ego, and that he had lost his detachment: "In art so naturally ironic and detached as his, this is a serious loss". Conversely, the book was praised by Yorke, Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English author, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world...

, and in glowing terms by Harold Acton, who was particularly impressed by its evocation of 1920s Oxford. In 1959, at the request of publishers Chapman and Hall and in some deference to his critics, Waugh revised the book and wrote in a preface: "I have modified the grosser passages but not obliterated them because they are an essential part of the book".

In "Fan Fare", Waugh forecasts that his future books will be unpopular because of their religious theme. On publication in 1950, Helena was received indifferently by the public and by critics, who disparaged the awkward mixing of 20th-century schoolgirl slang with otherwise reverential prose. Otherwise, Waugh's prediction proved unfounded; all the fiction remained in print and sales stayed healthy. During his successful 1957 lawsuit against the Daily Express, Waugh's counsel produced figures showing total sales to that time of over four million books, two-thirds in Britain and the rest in America. Men at Arms, the first volume of his war trilogy, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize
James Tait Black Memorial Prize
Founded in 1919, the James Tait Black Memorial Prizes are among the oldest and most prestigious book prizes awarded for literature written in the English language and are Britain's oldest literary awards...

 in 1953; initial critical comment was lukewarm, with Connolly likening Men at Arms to beer rather than champagne. Connolly changed his view later, calling the completed trilogy "the finest novel to come out of the war". Of Waugh's other major postwar works, the Knox biography was admired within Waugh's close circle but criticised by others in the Church for its depiction of Knox as an unappreciated victim of the Catholic hierarchy. The book did not sell well—"like warm cakes", according to Waugh. Pinfold surprised the critics by its originality; its plainly autobiographical content, Hastings suggests, gave the public a fixed image of Waugh—"stout, splenetic, red-faced and reactionary, a figure from burlesque complete with cigar, bowler hat and loud checked suit."

Reputation


In 1973 Waugh's diaries were serialised in The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

, prior to publication in book form in 1976. The revelations on his private life, thoughts and attitudes created controversy. Although Waugh had removed embarrassing entries relating to his Oxford years and his first marriage, there was sufficient left on the record to enable enemies to project a negative image of the writer as intolerant, snobbish and sadistic, with pronounced fascist leanings. Some of this picture, it was maintained by Waugh's supporters, arose from poor editing of the diaries, and a desire to transform Waugh from a writer to a "character". Nevertheless, a popular conception developed of Waugh as a monster. When, in 1980, a selection of his letters was published, his reputation became the subject of further discussion. Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL is widely regarded as one of the great English poets of the latter half of the twentieth century...

, reviewing the collection in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, thought that it demonstrated Waugh's elitism; to receive a letter from him, it seemed, "one would have to have a nursery nickname and be a member of White's, a Roman Catholic, a high-born lady or an Old Etonian novelist".

The publication of the diaries and letters promoted increased interest in Waugh and his works, and the publication of much new material. Christopher Sykes's biography had appeared in 1975; between 1980 and 1998 three more full biographies were issued, and other biographical and critical studies have continued to be produced. A collection of Waugh's journalism and reviews was published in 1983, revealing a fuller range of his ideas and beliefs. This new material provided further grounds for debate between Waugh's supporters and detractors. The 1982 Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

 adaptation of Brideshead Revisited introduced a new generation to Waugh's works, in Britain and in America. There had been earlier television treatment of Waugh's fiction—Sword of Honour had been serialised by the BBC in 1967—but the impact of Granada's Brideshead was much wider. Its nostalgic depiction of a vanished form of Englishness appealed to the American mass market; Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's TV critic described the series as "a novel ... made into a poem", and listed it among the "100 Best TV Shows of All Time". There have been further cinematic Waugh adaptations: A Handful of Dust in 1988, Vile Bodies (filmed as Bright Young Things) in 2003 and Brideshead again in 2008. These popular treatments have maintained the public's appetite for Waugh's novels, all of which remain in print and continue to sell. Several have been listed among various compiled lists of the world's greatest novels.

Beneath his public mask, Stannard concludes, Waugh was "a dedicated artist and a man of earnest faith, struggling against the dryness of his soul." Graham Greene
Graham Greene
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English author, playwright and literary critic. His works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world...

, in a letter to The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

shortly after Waugh's death, acknowledged him as "the greatest novelist of my generation", while Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine's obituarist called him "the grand old mandarin of modern British prose", and asserted that his novels "will continue to survive as long as there are readers who can savor what critic V. S. Pritchett
V. S. Pritchett
Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett CH CBE , was a British writer and critic. He was particularly known for his short stories, collected in a number of volumes...

 calls 'the beauty of his malice' ". Nancy Mitford
Nancy Mitford
Nancy Freeman-Mitford, CBE , styled The Hon. Nancy Mitford before her marriage and The Hon. Mrs Peter Rodd thereafter, was an English novelist and biographer, one of the Bright Young People on the London social scene in the inter-war years...

 said of him in a television interview; "What nobody remembers about Evelyn is that everything with him was jokes. Everything. That's what none of the people who wrote about him seem to have taken into account at all."

Sources

(Originally published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London 1980) (Originally published by Chatto & Windus, London 1976) (Originally published by Chapman and Hall, 1964)

Further reading

  • Ker, Ian Turnbull (2003), The Catholic Revival in English Literature (1845-1961). Newman, Hopkins, Belloc, Chesterton, Greene, Waugh. Notre Dame (Indiana): University of Notre Dame Press, pp. 149–202. (And also: Leominster [Herefordshire, UK]: Gracewing, 2004).

External links