Waugh, Evelyn. (1903 - 1966).
W o r k
E a r l y P e r i o d :
- writes satire, comedy, and grotesque
- jests at human folly, injustice, crime, and even potential horror
- preoccupied with society in decay, human depravity, and menace
Decline and Fall (1928):
- follows the disastrous career of a failed undergraduate, a failing schoolmaster, and an exploited lover, that terminates in prison
Vile Bodies (1930):
- a novel concerned with devaluation of received standards
Remote People (1931):
- a travel book on Ethiopia which he visited several times as a journalist
Black Mischief (1932):
- a novel concerned with a tottering African kingdom
A Handful of Dust (1934):
< indebted to T. S. Eliot's Waste Land, also the title comes from the poem
- each of its settings re-presents aspects of The Waste Land: a seedy Arthurian-Victorian country house > London clubs and apartments > a Brighton hotel > uncharted equatorial forests of South America
- concerned with the collapse of the illusions of rural feudalism x surface values and cynicism of metropolitan life
- follows both a literal divorce of a couple and a divorce between old and new values
Waugh in Abyssinia (1936):
- a non-fictional account of his Ethiopia visits
- a fictional enlargement of the former
L a t e r P e r i o d :
- converts to Roman Catholicism and becomes an amateur apologist for its teaching
Brideshead Revisited (1945):
- reworks and reconsiders the themes of A Handful of Dust against the background of WW II
x but: the protagonist translates his experience from an agnostic negativity into a series of Catholic positives
The Sword of Honour: Men at Arms (1952), Officers and Gentlemen (1955), Unconditional Surrender (1961):
- an ambitious trilogy following the disappointing experience of a Catholic patrician as an army officer in WW II
(Photo: Carl Van Vechten. 1940. Source: Wikipedia).
AuthorArthur Evelyn St John Waugh. (1903 - 1966). British.
WorkNovelist. Journalist. Author of A Handful of Dust (1934).
GenresModern novel. Satire. Comedy. Grotesque. Travel writing.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison."
From Decline and Fall (1928).