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Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_28» \o «October 28» October 28 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1903» \o «1903» 1903 –
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_10» \o «April 10» April
10 , HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966» \o «1966» 1966 )
was an English HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satirical» \o
«Satirical» satirical HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novelist» \o «Novelist» novelist ,
brother of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alec_Waugh» \o
«Alec Waugh» Alec Waugh and father of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auberon_Waugh» \o «Auberon Waugh» Auberon
Waugh . He is generally regarded as one the the greatest figures in
English literature in the 20th century.

Early Life

Born in HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London» \o «London»
London , Waugh was the son of a noted editor and publisher, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Arthur_Waugh&action=edit» \o
«Arthur Waugh» Arthur Waugh , and was brought up in middle class
circumstances in London. His only brother was the writer HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alec_Waugh» \o «Alec Waugh» Alec Waugh .
He was educated at HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancing_College» \o «Lancing College»
Lancing College , a minor English HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_school» \o «Public school» public
school with a High Church Anglican emphasis and then at HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_University» \o «Oxford University»
Oxford University ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hertford_College%2C_Oxford» \o «Hertford
College, Oxford» Hertford College ), which he left in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1924» \o «1924» 1924 with a third-class
degree. At Oxford, he was known as much for his artwork as his writing,
although he also threw himself into a vigorous social scene populated by
both HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesthetes» \o «Aesthetes»
aesthetes and nobility, in which one of the vogues was queerness.
Waugh had at least two gay affairs during this time, (this in addition
to amours with other boys at Lancing), before beginning to date women in
the late 1920s. In HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1925» \o
«1925» 1925 he taught at a private school in Wales and claims to have
attempted HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide» \o
«Suicide» suicide by swimming out to sea (turning back, however, when
stung by a HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jellyfish» \o
«Jellyfish» jellyfish ). He was also dismissed from another teaching
post for «drunkenness»

He was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker and worked briefly as a
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalist» \o «Journalist»
journalist , before he had his first great literary success in 1928 with
his first completed novel, Decline and Fall. Other novels about
England’s «Bright Young Things» followed, and all were well received by
both critics and the general public. He entered into a rather brief and
unsuccessful marriage in 1929 to the Hon. Evelyn Gardner. (Their friends
called them he-Evelyn and she-Evelyn). The marriage was annulled in
1936. His second marriage, in 1937, to the Roman Catholic Laura Herbert,
daughter of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aubrey_Herbert» \o
«Aubrey Herbert» Aubrey Herbert , was more successful, lasting for the
rest of his life and producing six children.

The Thirties

Waugh’s fame continued to grow between the wars, based on his
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satires» \o «Satires» satires
of contemporary HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_middle_class» \o «Upper middle
class» upper middle class English society, written in a prose which
was both approachable and innovative. (A chapter, for example, writen
entirely in the form of a dialogue of telephone calls). His conversion
to HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism» \o
«Roman Catholicism» Roman Catholicism in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1930» \o «1930» 1930 introduced a more
serious undertone to his writing, and his faith, whether implicit or
explicit, underlies all of his later work.

The period between the wars also saw extensive travels around the
Mediterranean and Red Sea, Spitsbergen, Africa and South America. The
numerous travel books which resulted are not regarded as among his
better work. A compendium has been issued under the title When The Going
Was Good.

World War II

With the advent of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II» \o «World War II» World War
II , Waugh used «friends in high places», such as HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randolph_Churchill» \o «Randolph
Churchill» Randolph Churchill — son of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill» \o «Winston Churchill»
Winston — to find him a service commission. Though thirty-six years of
age with poor eyesight, he was commissioned in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Marines» \o «Royal Marines» Royal
Marines in 1940. Few can have been less suited to command troops. He
lacked a common touch. Though personally brave, he did not suffer fools
gladly. There was some concern that the men under his command might
shoot him instead of the enemy. Promoted to Captain, Waugh found life in
the Marines dull.

Waugh participated in the failed attempt to take HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakar» \o «Dakar» Dakar from the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vichy_French» \o «Vichy French»
Vichy French in late 1940. Following a joint exercise with No.8
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Commandos» \o «British
Commandos» Commando (Army), he applied to join them and was accepted.
Waugh took part in an ill-fated commando raid on the coast of
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libya» \o «Libya» Libya . As
special assistant to the famed commando leader, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Laycock» \o «Robert Laycock»
Robert Laycock , Waugh showed conspicuous bravery during the fighting in
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Crete» \o «Battle of
Crete» Crete in HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1941» \o
«1941» 1941 , supervising the evacuation of troops while under attack
by HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuka» \o «Stuka» Stuka
dive bombers.

Later, Waugh was placed on extended leave for several years and
reassigned to the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Horse_Guards» \o «Royal Horse
Guards» Royal Horse Guards . During this period he wrote HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brideshead_Revisited» \o «Brideshead
Revisited» Brideshead Revisited . He was recalled for a
military/diplomatic mission to HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslavia» \o «Yugoslavia» Yugoslavia
in 1944 at the request of his old friend Randolph Churchill. He and
Churchill narrowly escaped capture/death when the Germans undertook
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_R%C3%B6sselsprung» \o
«Operation Roesselsprung» Operation Roesselsprung , and had paratroops
and glider borne storm troops attack the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partisans_%28Yugoslavia%29» \o «Partisans
(Yugoslavia)» Partisan headquarters where they were staying. An
outcome was a formidable report detailing HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tito» \o «Tito» Tito ‘s persecution of
the clergy. It was «buried» by Foreign Secretary HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Eden» \o «Anthony Eden» Anthony
Eden as being largely irrelevant.

Much of Waugh’s war experience is reflected in his HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword_of_Honour» \o «Sword of Honour»
Sword of Honour HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trilogy» \o
«Trilogy» trilogy . The trilogy — and indeed all his work after the 30s
— is one of the best books about World War II. Many of his portraits are
unforgettable, and a few show striking resemblances to noted real life
personalities. Many feel that the fire eating officer in the novels,
Brig. Ben Ritchie-Hook, was based on Lieutenant-General Sir HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Carton_De_Wiart» \o «Adrian Carton
De Wiart» Adrian Carton De Wiart , V.C., a friend of the author’s
father-in-law. Waugh knew Carton De Wiart somewhat from his club. The
fictional commando leader, Tommy Blackhouse, was based on Major-General
Sir HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Laycock» \o «Robert
Laycock» Robert Laycock , a real-life commando leader and friend of

Later Years

The period after the war saw Waugh living with his family in the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Country» \o «West Country»
West Country at his country homes, Piers Court, and from 1956 onwards,
at Combe Florey in Somerset, where he lived as a country squire. He
bequeathed the latter to his son, the writer and journalist HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auberon_Waugh» \o «Auberon Waugh» Auberon
Waugh . He made his living through writing and became a self-parodying
reactionary figure. He was bitterly disappointed when the Roman Catholic
Church, which he in part loved for what he perceived as its
timelessness, began to adopt modern vernacular liturgy and other

Some of Waugh’s best-loved and best-known novels come from this period.
Brideshead Revisted ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1945» \o
«1945» 1945 ), is a brilliant evocation of a vanished pre-War England,
while The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1957» \o «1957» 1957 ) is amazing for its
dispassionate recounting of the hero’s steady descent into madness — the
experience was actually Waugh’s own, the result of taking medication
which induced a bout of severe paranoia on a sea-voyage to Ceylon (
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sri_Lanka» \o «Sri Lanka» Sri
Lanka ). Less successful was Helena, ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953» \o «1953» 1953 ), a fictional
account of the Empress Helena and the finding of the True Cross. Waugh
regarded this novel as his best work, a verdict which few others have
ever shared.

Latterly Waugh put on a lot of weight, and the sleeping pills he took,
combined with a heavy intake of alcohol, cigars and little exercise,
weakened his health. His writing productivity gradually ran down, and
there was a very noticeable falling off in the quality of what fiction
he did write (his last published work, Basil Seal Rides Again, taking up
some of the characters from his very earliest satirical works, fails to
reach any dramatic climax). At the same time, he continued to produce
valuable journalism, where the demands of sustained construction were
less severe; and his power of delivering fearsome insults remained
intact. Upon hearing that Randolph Churchill had had a non-malignant
tumour removed, Waugh complained: «It was a typical triumph of modern
science to find the only part of Randolph that was not malignant and
remove it.» His duties as paterfamilias brought him little pleasure: «My
unhealthy affection for my second daughter has waned. Now I despise all
my seven children equally.»

He died, aged 62, on HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_10»
\o «April 10» 10 April HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966»
\o «1966» 1966 , on returning home from Mass on Easter Sunday. His
estate at HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probate» \o
«Probate» probate was valued at 20,068 pounds sterling. This did not
include the value of his lucrative copyrights, which Waugh put in a
trust for his children.


HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_and_Fall» \o «Decline
and Fall» Decline and Fall ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1928» \o «1928» 1928 ) Satire of the
upper classes and social climbers

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vile_Bodies» \o «Vile Bodies»
Vile Bodies ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1930» \o «1930»
1930 ) Brilliant satire with Waugh at his best. Adapted to the screen by
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Fry» \o «Stephen Fry»
Stephen Fry as Bright Young Things in 2003

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mischief» \o «Black
Mischief» Black Mischief ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1932» \o «1932» 1932 ) Satire on Emperor
Haile Selassie and his attempts to modernize his realm (Waugh was deeply
critical of modernity and notions of rational progress).

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Handful_of_Dust» \o «A
Handful of Dust» A Handful of Dust ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934» \o «1934» 1934 ) Subtle critique of
civilization set in English country house and British Guyana

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scoop_%28novel%29» \o «Scoop
(novel)» Scoop — the rush of war reporters to a thinly disguised
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abyssinia» \o «Abyssinia»
Abyssinia (now HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopia» \o
«Ethiopia» Ethiopia ) ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938»
\o «1938» 1938 )

t» \o «Put Out More Flags» Put Out More Flags ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942» \o «1942» 1942 ) Satire of the
phony war and wartime sillinesses

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Loved_One» \o «The Loved
One» The Loved One (subtitled An Anglo-American Tragedy)- about the
excesses of a Californian funeral business

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brideshead_Revisited» \o
«Brideshead Revisited» Brideshead Revisited (subtitled The Sacred and
Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder) — details the spiritual lives
behind the facades of an aristocratic family and their friend, the
protagonist ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1945» \o «1945»
1945 )

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_%281950_novel%29» \o
«Helena (1950 novel)» Helena ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950» \o «1950» 1950 ) Historial fiction
about the Empress Helena and the founding of pilgrimage sites in the
Holy Land, also a Catholic apologetic about the True Cross

ce_of_the_Near_Future&action=edit» \o «Love Among the Ruins. A Romance
of the Near Future» Love Among the Ruins. A Romance of the Near Future
( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953» \o «1953» 1953 )

&action=edit» \o «The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold» The Ordeal of Gilbert
Pinfold ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1957» \o «1957»
1957 )

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword_of_Honour» \o «Sword of
Honour» Sword of Honour Trilogy

edit» \o «Waugh’s Men at Arms» Men at Arms ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952» \o «1952» 1952 )

=edit» \o «Officers and Gentlemen» Officers and Gentlemen ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1955» \o «1955» 1955 )

vel%29&action=edit» \o «Unconditional Surrender (novel)» Unconditional
Surrender ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961» \o «1961»
1961 )

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