Waugh Cited in Reports of Barcelona Incident

Several papers have reported that the Spanish terrorist cell responsible for the recent mayhem in Barcelona intended to use their explosives to attack the Holy Family Church, another of that city’s popular tourist sites. These reports have spread across the press spectrum from the Scottish Daily Record and New York Post to the Daily Telegraph and Catholic Herald and have in more recent articles received some confirmation. Blogger Steve Sailer has noted the Daily Record’s report on the conservative website Vdare.com (best known for its anti-immigrant position) and adds a quote from Evelyn Waugh to the story by way of background:

The astonishing sand-drip castle Holy Family church has been under construction since 1882. Evelyn Waugh wrote in 1930:

“I feel it would be a graceful action on the part of someone who was a little wrong in the head to pay for its completion.”

It is said to be on track for completion in 2026, the centenary of Antoni Gaudi’s death…

Waugh seems to have been unaware of Gaudi’s work before he visited Barcelona in 1929 as a stop on his Mediterranean voyage prior to the break-up of his first marriage. His essay on Gaudi first appeared as an article in Architectural Review in June 1930 and was later incorporated into Chapter VII of his account of the voyage in Labels published later that year. He was quite impressed by the several examples of Gaudi’s works which he saw in his 2-day visit and wished he could have stayed longer and seen more. The state of the Holy Family church at the time of his visit is ironically described in the essay:

It seems to me certain that it will always remain a ruin–and a highly dangerous one unless the towers are removed before they fall down. (Labels, p. 179).

Fortunately, that has not proved to be the case.

Sailer has previously commented on Waugh’s work and may be the first to have written about the connection between The Loved One and Billy Wilder’s film Sunset Boulevard. See earlier posts.

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