Powell Society Papers Include Two about Waugh

The Anthony Powell Society has recently published the Proceedings of its 2016 Conference in York. There are two papers in this collection that relate directly to the writings of Evelyn Waugh. The titles and abstracts of these papers are set forth below:

The Group Novel: Waugh’s Vile Bodies, Powell’s Afternoon Men, and Green’s Party Going by YUEXI LIU, Durham University

“Anthony Powell, Evelyn Waugh and Henry Green can be considered as part of a group. Having rejected high modernism and its interiority, this group turned to the outside and created what I call “exterior modernism”. Not only did the exterior modernists operate as a group, not dissimilar to those in their novels, they also wrote “the group novel”. Offering anthropological insights, Vile Bodies (1930), Afternoon Men (1931), and Party Going (1939, written 1931-1938) are excellent studies of group behaviour – talk in particular – and psychology. In or about 1930, human character changed again: the stream of consciousness gave away to what David Lodge terms the “stream of talk”. This group of exterior modernists experimented with what I prefer to call “talk fiction” rather than Waugh’s the “novel of conversation”. Cinematic, comic, and satiric, Vile Bodies, Afternoon Men and Party Going are primarily concerned with the talk of a distinctive social group. Their talk, however, accentuates miscommunication, or, as often, the breakdown of communication. Interestingly, the rise of talk fiction coincided with the coming of sound in cinema, or the talkies. Informed by the debate about the group mind, this paper also investigates the psychology of the group revealed by the talk of its members in the three novels. Within the group, the group mind is characterised by the desire for belonging and the fear of assimilation. In the face of the crowd, against which the group identifies itself and, paradoxically, of which it is often oblivious, the group, however, unites in its thinking about the containment of the crowd and the preservation of itself. Despite the threat of extinction, the group often manages to survive, which is no less despairing.”

Anthony Powell, Brideshead and Castle Howard Revisited by JEFFREY MANLEY

“Castle Howard has become inextricably connected in the public perception with Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. This is due more to its selection as a setting for two popular film adaptations than to what was written by Waugh himself. And yet because of the overwhelming effectiveness of the portrayals of Waugh’s story in these films (or at least the earlier Granada TV production), even some literary scholars have come to accept the identity of Castle Howard as the setting intended in Waugh writings. The purpose of this paper is (1) to examine Anthony Powell’s opinion of Brideshead Revisited, both the novel and the 1981 TV series, (2) to compare Waugh’s descriptions of Brideshead Castle to Castle Howard itself and (3) to review the process of the filmmakers in selecting that site as the setting for the story. The paper will then consider to what extent the identification of Castle Howard and Brideshead can be attributed to Waugh and what to the film adaptations.”

Other papers published in the 2016 York Proceedings include:

The Dance to Come: Powell and the Victorians; John Bowen

‘Ever More Congenial’ – AP and the Essence of Mr WS; Colin Donald

Literary Lampoons and Chronological Knots; Bruce Fleming

Adultery in A Dance to the Music of Time and in The Great Gatsby; Steve Loveman

Shocking! Powell on Sade; Didier Girard

Narration, Character and Time in Anthony Powell’s Dance; David Martin Jones and Lana Starkey

Finding Powell’s Voice: The Kind of Immortality Most Authors Want; Robin Bynoe

Punching Authors: The Novelist as Critic and Parodist; Peter Kislinger

Jenkins as Horatio as Hamlet; Nicholas Birns

This 200-page publication is available from the Anthony Powell Society to nonmembers at the price of £10 UK or £16 overseas (including postage and handling). Lower prices are available to APS members. Details of ordering and payment are available here.

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