Midwinter Roundup: Worldwide Waugh

Evelyn Waugh is mentioned in two recent German newspaper articles:

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andrea Diener writes a column noting the domination by women of the Guardian’s fiction bestseller list–only one man made the list: Haruki Murakami at #6. She then tracks back to how Englishwomen struggled to gain this position, mentioning that several major 19th century women writers used male pen names–e.g., the Brontes and Mary Ann Evans. She closes with this:

All that remains is to thank the brave authors who paved the way. Jane Austen, for example, who published as “A lady” and thus left no doubt about her gender. And Evelyn Waugh, who was actually named Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh and could have had it easier. Instead, he married a woman named Evelyn, they called the couple “He-Evelyn and She-Evelyn” and despite everything, it made a great author out of him.

In the Allgemeine Zeitung published in Mainz, Marianne Hoffmann reviews the diaries of actor Richard Burton. These covered the years 1965-71 when he was married to actress Elizabeth Taylor. The article concludes with this:

Everywhere he had houses, he set up a library. Elisabeth Taylor would have liked to order them by color, he would have it by authors. “That’s not wallpaper”, as he commented.  …  His great love is the crime novel. Authors such as Ross Macdonald, Lou Archer, Ian Fleming, Rex Stout and Evelyn Waugh. The latter, a writer whose novels “A handful of dust”, “Scoop”, “Decline and Fall” were translated into all languages. A very entertaining evening ends with a little reading from “Decline and Fall”.

In the weblog En Compostela, blogger Angel Ruiz summarizes in Spanish the recent article by Robert Murray Davis cited in a previous post. This relates to Waugh’s practice of revising his works. The blogger also offers this personal comment about Brideshead Revisited:

What still seems fascinating to me is to see to what extent it represents much more without being allegorical in the strict sense. Another impressive thing is that it seems to me that in all the characters I see something of myself.

Back in the UK, The Times mentions Waugh in a review by Laura Freeman of a new book by Laura Shapiro: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories. One of these is Rosa Lewis, proprietress of the Cavendish Hotel and cook as well as (possibly) lover of Edward VII;

She was an Eliza Doolittle figure who never lost her cockney accent, called jeroboams “cherrybums” and wheeled vegetables back from the market in her own barrow. She inspired the TV series The Duchess of Duke Street and was sent up by Evelyn Waugh as the garrulous Lottie Crump, the owner of Shepheard’s Hotel in Vile Bodies.

Finally, in the USA, Waugh is mentioned in Steve Sailer’s weblog Vdare. Although this site is normally devoted to immigration topics, Sailer in his latest post addresses the current discussion of foreign meddling in US politics. He opens with this:

We hear a lot about foreign meddling via propaganda these days, so it’s worth looking at historical examples that are now well documented. The British propaganda effort from 1939 onward was often satirized (Winston Smith in 1984 is basically George Orwell laboring for the BBC). In Evelyn Waugh’s 1942 book Put Out More Flags, a novel set during the “Phony War” of late 1939-1940 (that suddenly became very real in the spring of 1940), the pacifist aesthete writer Ambrose Silk goes to visit his old publisher, who is now working on propaganda at the Ministry of Information. He is told:

“You might write a book for us then. I’m getting out a very nice little series on ‘What We Are Fighting For.’ I’ve signed up a retired admiral, a Church of England curate, an unemployed docker, a Negro solicitor from the Gold Coast, and a nose-and-throat specialist from Harley Street. The original idea was to have a symposium in one volume, but I’ve had to enlarge the idea a little. All our authors had such very different ideas it might have a little confusing.”

The translations are by Google with minor edits.


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Evelyn Waugh, Smoking and Contemplation

An essay on The American Conservative’s website, entitled “Why George Will is Wrong about Smokers”, opens with this:

Smokers, George Will says, lack “common sense.” In a late December opinion column in the Washington Post, Will declared, “Filling one’s lungs with smoke from a burning plant is dumb.”

The essay, by Notre Dame graduate student Casey Chalk, defends smoking (up to a point) which, “despite its deleterious effects, is one of our few remaining tools to facilitate reflective contemplation and fully human social interactions unencumbered by [digital] screen technology.”

According to Chalk, among those who have benefited from the comtemplative effects of smoking are writers:

Smoking, despite its evils, facilitates something our modern culture has largely failed to replace: contemplation and face-to-face social interaction. To … cite Jack Taylor of the New Oxford Review, “musical scores have been written, calculus problems solved, and philosophical principles discerned by smokers while smoking. Good conversations have been had, and many a friendship forged, under rich clouds of tobacco smoke.” C.H. Spurgeon, Evelyn Waugh, G.K. Chesterton, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day, among many others, all smoked while plying their craft.

Waugh was, of course, a cigar smoker and is frequently seen photographed while smoking a large Havana. In 1938, he went so far as to contribute to a newspaper advertisement sponsored by the Cuban Government’s promotional apparatus. This appeared in The Times for 22 November 1938 (p. 13) and is headlined “Vivat Havana !” above a rather crude drawing (not Waugh’s work by the looks of it) of a man sitting in an easy chair next to his wife and puffing on a cigar. Below that is written in heavy type “By EVELYN WAUGH: The author…dedicates this message to the Younger Generation.” There follows a text, in which it looks as if Waugh at least had a hand and some of which seems relevant to the point made in The American Conservative:

… Cigarette smoking is a habit, pipe smoking a hobby, but smoking Havana Cigars is a delicate and profound delight. I think perhaps the reason why, in fiction and films and caricatures, we always see cigars associated with the elderly and opulent, is that it is one of the pleasures we can all share with them. How little we count most of their possessions and habits; their great traffic-logged motor cars; their secretaries and surgeons, their divorces and remarriages, their supertaxes and death duties, their air-conditioned offices and penthouse apartments! And how much in their harassed routine they need those exquisite hours when the Tobacco of Havana comes to calm their apprehensions and woo them into self esteem. We, too, have our worries and we, too, turn to the same source of comfort. The most futile and disastrous day seems well spent when it is reviewed through the blue, fragrant smoke of a Havana cigar. 

The last sentence, attributed to Waugh, appears even today in both news and advertising copy relating to cigar smoking. See earlier posts. On the other hand, that last sentence is perhaps the one most likely to have been written or edited by one of the advertising agency hacks. It doesn’t somehow sound like Waugh. But then irony and satire has little chance to appear in advertising copy.

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Waugh Features in Podcast on “Narrative and Religion”

A recent podcast in the series Conversations with Tyler involves an interview with New York Times columnist Russ Douthat. The series is sponsored by George Mason University  and the interviewer is Tyler Cowen but the date and the venue are not revealed. It was posted on the internet yesterday and is listed as ep. 32. The subject is “Narrative and Religion” and after winding through consideration of various theological questions including topics such as the novel Watership Downs and cats (the animals not the musical play), the interviewer poses the question: “Evelyn Waugh–Brideshead Revisited, a novel: Underrated or Overrated?” that begins this discussion:

DOUTHAT: Overrated.


DOUTHAT: There is a little too much sentimentality in the Catholicism. And the Sword of Honor Trilogy is a little more cold-eyed and therefore slightly better.

COWEN: A side question: If you think about a lot of the Catholic authors — Walker Percy, Graham Greene, Flannery O’Connor, Gene Wolfe, Louise Erdrich — do you feel as a whole Catholicism is sufficiently well represented in literature, or in a sense are you a bit let down by the aggregate weight of the better-known Catholic novels?

DOUTHAT: No. I think it’s well represented, and I think that the decline in Catholicism’s importance in literature since that Waugh-Greene golden age has happened in parallel with the decline of literature’s cultural importance in certain ways. … But no, the period that produced Waugh and Greene and a lot of those writers is in certain ways one of my favorite periods in modern literature. And even the writers in that era who are not practicing Catholics seem to me to be influenced in different ways, like Hemingway and Fitzgerald in different ways. For instance, Hemingway is writing in a Catholic cultural context in a lot of his stories and Fitzgerald is, of course, a lapsed Catholic of a certain kind. So I think Catholicism hangs in an interesting way over that whole first-half-of-the-20th-century period of literature. And I think that’s the best recent period of literature, so I’ll claim some chauvinistic pride.

The podcast is available in both an audio recording and transcription on the website medium.com.


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Three Views of Brideshead

Blogger-philosophers seem to be spending the winter months reading and thinking about the religious implications of Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited. On the conservative weblog counter-currents.com, there is a two-part review of a book first published in 1947 by theologian Alan W Watts and now re-available on Kindle. This is Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion and is reviewed by James J O’Meara. The book is described as an:

… exposition of Watts’ earliest attempt to reconcile traditional Anglican theology with a mystical, Buddhist based approach, but also as a personal expression of the mystical experience.

After beginning Part One of the review with an extensive praise of Amazon for making such works readily available and a summary of what Watts was writing in 1947, O’Meara offers an extended aside on what he calls an “Excursus on Cradle Catholics.” In this he considers the various aspects of religious belief as represented in several characters in Waugh’s novel: Sebastian’s childlike approach, Bridey’s dense and dogmatic beliefs, Cara’s more relaxed Southern attitudes and Charles’s more mature approach as a convert. As an example of how this works, here is O’Meara’s take on Bridey:

This combination of the primitive and the learned perfectly instantiates what Watts describes as the Catholic attempt to emulate Protestant moral seriousness, resulting in the dreary Puritanism of the Irish or French Catholics. Indeed, it is Bridey who carelessly (in both senses) triggers off the moral climax of the novel when he smugly points out his new wife can’t possibly share a roof with his adulterous sister Julia.

On the weblog OldLife.org (described as a showcase for the views of Reform Protestantism) there is an unsigned article entitled “Sin vs. Flourishing”. This mostly considers the religious life reflected in Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock but it concludes with this paragraph:

…what is striking about Greene’s novels (and the movies based on them), along with Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, is that the point of becoming Roman Catholic is not to flourish as a human being or civilizationally. The believing characters like Rose, and the defiant non-practicing ones like Pinkie, do not look at Christianity as a way to live the good life. Theirs is a world haunted by moral choices and a God who judges them. Heaven and hell give meaning, not flourishing.

Finally, on the website ThriveGlobal.com, American writer Delia Lloyd describes her reaction to binge-watching the 11-hour 1981 TV series of Brideshead. She praises the production and the performances and then, as a former Roman Catholic, she concludes her discussion of the TV adaptation on a more somber note:

…it became increasingly clear that this wasn’t just another voyeuristic journey into the heart of Oxbridge-bred England. Rather, it was essentially a protracted tale of one family’s inexorable, inter-generational and self-destructive struggle with Catholicism [here describing her own personal struggle to leave the Catholic faith]. What Brideshead Revisited added to that equation was the pain and guilt that goes along with that decision. I wanted desperately, as I watched, to identify with Charles Ryder, the protagonist of the story. He is the stoic, eternally rational hero who can’t quite fathom why this otherwise well-educated and cultured family in which he has become enmeshed – The Flytes – is so hopelessly caught up in their Roman Catholic faith. Instead, I ended up identifying with Julia, his beloved, who tries her very best to leave her religion (and thus, to some extent, her family) by embracing Charles (and divorce and modernity) and the skepticism it implies. In the end, however, it’s too much for her and she can’t quite bring herself to do it. It breaks her heart, but she chooses the Church over her true love. It is her destiny.

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Dursley in the News

The Mirror has identified Dursley (where Evelyn Waugh lived from 1937-1956) as a “commuter hotspot”. This is determined by its proximity to Bristol and is measured by the annual growth in housing prices. The Mirror puts Dursley at #2 in its housing sweepstakes with an annual price increase of 9.7% based on data collected by the real estate website Zoopla, outpaced only by Swanley in Kent (10.8%).

A local news site serving the area called GloucesterhsireLive.com thought Dursley had more to offer than rapidly increasing house prices and put together a list of 16 other advantages. Among these are three related to its literary associations:

12. A place in one of the most-read books of all time.

Anyone who knows the Harry Potter books will know the name Dursley – the horrid family who took poor Harry in after his parents died. They’re perhaps not the best advert for the town but they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

13. Literary links.

That’s not the only link with literature – William Shakespeare is believed to have spent some lost years in the town ….

14. Reading for the masses.

And aside from Evelyn Waugh living in nearby Stinchcombe for a while, William Tyndale brought literacy to the masses by translating The Bible from Latin. The 111-ft monument at Nibley Knoll, near Dursley, is a tribute to him.

The local newsite misses the irony that it was Dursley’s rapid post-war growth that caused Waugh to move away in 1956. He feared that this growth would soon envelope the adjacent and more rural village of Stinchcombe where he lived in a house known as Piers Court. His new home was at Combe Florey in Somerset which is considerably more distant from its market town of Taunton that Stinchcombe was from Dursley.

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Waugh, The Revisionist

The latest edition of Commonweal magazine has an essay by veteran Waugh scholar Robert Murray Davis. This is entitled “‘Brideshead’ Revisited and Revised: The Mixed Reception of Waugh’s Most Famous Novel.” In this, he traces the critical reception of Brideshead Revisited and explains how Waugh reacted to it by writing multiple revisions to the book. Prof Davis identifies critical reactions firstly from Waugh’s close friends who were provided advance copies of the book in a limited edition. These resulted in substantial revisions to that early version which became what Davis describes as essentially the page proofs of the book. He also incorporated a message to detractors (without mentioning them) in the dustwrapper notes for the UK edition. Then, while he was serving in the Army in Jugoslavia, Waugh relied on Nancy Mitford to collect the reactions and gossip relating to the published edition and pass them on to him in her correspondence.

Finally, the formal opinions of the critics are considered, most of them favorable. The only initial criticism to which Waugh reacted in writing was that of Desmond MacCarthy in The Sunday Times. This was overall positive but raised certain points that Waugh addreses in correspondence with MacCarthy:

Waugh thanked MacCarthy for the review but added, “I was pleased with the book when I finished it, but since then the rats and moths have been at me and I was despondent about it,” adding “I am eager to learn your criticisms of my method.” MacCarthy’s criticisms in his letter of June 18 were of a kind familiar in the work of later critics and, by 1960, in Waugh’s own final view of the novel. Foremost were the soliloquies of Julia and her father, which, MacCarthy felt, overshadowed dramatic situations. He was also concerned about Charles’s indifference to his children; about whether or not Anthony Blanche’s criticisms of Ryder’s paintings were intended to be seen as accurate; and—more a concern to other readers than to him—about why Lady Marchmain was a bad mother.

Prof Davis also notes negative criticism from sources such as Edmund Wilson, novelist Rose McCauley and journalist Conor Cruise O’Brien. Waugh reacted to both constructive comments from friends and more serious objections from critics by making small but frequent edits in the UK editions of the book. Finally, in the fullness of time, and after fighting with Hollywood over an aborted movie version of the book, Waugh made substantial revisions which were incorporated into a new and revised UK edition that appeared in 1960. This included a new preface by Waugh in which he explained some of the revisions and his reasons for making them.

Prof Davis, who was responsible for cataloguing the Waugh archives acquired in the late 1960s by the University of Texas, has written extensively about Waugh’s practice of revising his books. E.g. Brideshead Revisited: The Past Redeemed and Evelyn Waugh, Writer. While Brideshead was probably subject to more revising than any of the others, Davis once warned his fellow scholars studying any of Waugh’s books that: (1) consistency between different editions of a Waugh novel should never be assumed; (2) Waugh was capable of altering not only details but important elements of the story; and (3) study of the textual history of Waugh’s novels was not only essential but almost certain to be rewarding. This latest article about Waugh’s revisionism is probably based on Prof Davis’s work as co-editor of the CWEW edition of Brideshead.

UPDATE (17 January 2018): A few minor edits were made relating to Waugh’s reaction to the critical reception.

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Celebrities and Waugh: Roundup

The press is replete with celebrities citing Evelyn Waugh this week. In the Daily Express, actor Freddie Fox cited Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited as one of his six favorite books:

“Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint” is a beautiful line at the beginning. Waugh was a sensational writer and conjures an image of the past I find quixotic and also sad in its nostalgia.

He comes from a distinguished thespian family (father is Edward; mother, Joanna David; uncle, James; cousin, Laurence). Other favorites include Flashman at the Charge, The Secret History, and John Donne’s Selected Poems.

Actress Kristin Scott Thomas has an interview in The Irish Times that extends over her entire career. Most recently she appeared in the Winston Churchill docudrama The Darkest Hour. She finds she has generally had better success with her roles in French films, although there are exceptions:

… it’s interesting to note the films she speaks most fondly of: a 1988 adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust; the Romanian comedy An Unforgettable Summer (shot not too long after the fall of Ceausescu); Catherine Corsini’s marital-implosion drama, Leaving.

The Handful of Dust adaptation was a product of the same producer/director team that gave us the 1981 Granada adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.

A different class of celebrity is represented in The Tatler which has an article by Richard Prendlebury about the careers of famous English war correspondents. The article seems to focus on the career of William Howard Russell who reported the Crimean War for The Times as its paradigm, but gives Evelyn Waugh his due:

Who could fill [his shoes] after Russell was gone? Not … the writer Evelyn Waugh, who covered the Abyssinian campaign for the Daily Mail in 1936. He did so with little enthusiasm and a singular lack of sympathy for the embattled country. But his observations, dressed in fiction, became the satirical novel Scoop, the war correspondent’s ‘bible’, as it is so often described. Waugh managed to capture the absurdity of almost everything about the job – let’s say 95 per cent – that occurs until the time when one is on the frontline and among those who are trying their very best to kill each other.

Finally, perennial celebrity wannabee Taki Theodoracopulos has written an essay on his weblog in which he bemoans the decline in the English aristocratic standards marked by Prince Harry’s choice of a mixed-race American actress as his bride. He supposes that:

Snobs like Evelyn Waugh, who wrote about madcap aristocrats and their follies, must be really turning over in their graves. Today’s Charles Ryder more resembles Rex Mottram in his search for an ideal wife, celebrity and money replacing blue blood and tradition. Everyone, even a writer for The Spectator by the noble name of Harry Mount, has called this state of affairs marvelous: the fact that class barriers of the past have been replaced by barriers of money and fame, even beauty. I am not among them.

Once again, I am not sure I grasp this point about Waugh’s characters. Both Charles Ryder and Rex Mottram in their day sought the hand of the same English aristocratic beauty–Julia Flyte. And in their day, Rex already had the money and celebrity as a businessman and politician and wasn’t seeking more of that through his marriage to Julia but was seeking heightened social status. And Charles had already married an aristocrat of a higher status that Julia who didn’t come freighted with Julia’s Roman Catholic baggage. So how would Charles be more like Rex today? Taki seems to have picked up this confusion from the same Harry Mount article he criticises in his essay. See earlier post.

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Orwell’s Religion in this Week’s Tablet

D J Taylor writing in the latest edition of The Tablet addresses the issue of George Orwell’s attitude toward religion in general and the Roman Catholic church in particular. This is in an essay entitled “The Other Saint George: George Orwell’s Nuanced and Ambivalent Views on Religion.”  Taylor, who has also written a biography of Orwell, opens with this discussion of how his friends considered his religious tendencies:

What Orwell thought about religion is necessarily complicated by his friends’ habit of conceiving him in explicitly religious terms. V. S. Pritchett thought him “a kind of saint”. Anthony Powell, too, reckoned him “in his way, a sort of saint, even if not one in sparkling raiment bright”. Evelyn Waugh, visiting him in a Gloucestershire sanitorium in the year before his death, pronounced that he was “very near to God”. To which it may be added that Orwell himself greatly distrusted the notion of personal sanctity, and wrote a pointed little essay on Gandhi whose asceticism he found deeply suspect. Sainthood, he decided, was a condition best avoided by living men and women.

According to Taylor, Orwell’s “personal life was rooted in conventional early 20th-century Anglicanism…while his moral beliefs, founded on such code words as “fairness” and “decency”, are essentially Judeo-Christian…” He did, however, have anti-Catholic tendencies, despite (or perhaps because of) his early schooling by Ursuline nuns in a Henley convent:

The thought that to Orwell Catholicism is itself a form of totalitarianism whose dogmas are imposed not to buttress any particular law but merely to reinforce the power structures that lie behind them has clearly occurred to Michael G. Brennan [in his recent book George Orwell and Religion]… No question that the evidence Brennan marshals in his assault on Orwell the anti-Catholic bigot isn’t damning in the extreme. From Ronald Knox to Monsignor Hugh Benson and from the rosary-fingering Irish peasantry to the journalism of “Beach­comber”, Orwell rarely misses a chance to let some Catholic institution or celebrity have it with both barrels.

Taylor closes with another story that he thinks Brennan (who has also written a study of Evelyn Waugh and is editor of some of the CWEW volumes) might have used. This involves a meeting arrranged by Anthony Powell between Orwell and Alick Dru, Powell’s friend from his Army days who was also a Roman Catholic as well as Evelyn Waugh’s brother-in-law. The two did not hit if off, and Taylor believes this may relate to Orwell’s attitude toward a French theologian named Charles Péguy. Taylor might also have mentioned Brennan’s closing of his book on Orwell and religion. In this Brennan considers an unfinished essay reviewing Waugh’s career that Orwell was working on when he died. In the surviving notes, Orwell wrote this as his conclusion: “Waugh is about as good a novelist as one can be (ie. as novelists go today) while holding untenable opinions.” (Orwell, Complete Works, v. 20, p. 79)

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New Edition of Lady Chatterley Reviewed

Peter Hitchens has revisited the 1960 obscenity trial of D H Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover. This is in response to the reissuance of the novel by Macmillan in a new “deluxe” edition. The review appears in the religion and public policy journal First Things. Hitchens sees the trial as having had a foreordained conclusion because of changes in the law that took place prior to the book’s UK publication as well as changes in public opinion that supported that legislation. He also notes that no leading UK literary figures were called to testify for the prosecution, although it was widely believed by several perceptive readers that the book was not worth all the fuss. He cites the opinion of US author Katherine Ann Porter that the novel was the product of a writer who was well past his prime. She was not called as a witness but her critical assessment, quoted from an issue of Encounter published earlier in the year, was used in the prosecution’s cross examination of one of the defense’s expert witnesses:

When I first read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, thirty years ago, I thought it a dreary, sad performance with some passages unintentional hilarious low comedy, one scene at least simply beyond belief in a book written with such inflamed apostolic solemnity….Nowhere in this sad history can you see anything but a long, dull, grey monotonous chain of days, lightened now and then by a sexual bout. I can’t hear any music, or poetry, or the voices of friends, or children. There is no wine, no food, no sleep or refreshment, no laughter, no rest nor quiet—no love. I remember then that this is the fevered dream of a dying man sitting under his umbrella pines in Italy indulging his sexual fantasies.

The witness, a Cambridge University academic, was unmoved by Porter’s dismissive opinion. Hitchens himself sees little or no literary value in the book and summarizes his assessment of what he deems its worst passage with this reference to Evelyn Waugh:

Almost all the experts were careful to admit that one particular chapter is indefensible. This is the passage in which the gamekeeper Oliver Mellors has a lewd conversation about his mistress with her wealthy artist father in his London club. Imagine what might happen if P. G. Wodehouse tried to write a conversation in dialect among striking coal miners in West Virginia, or if Evelyn Waugh ventured into magical realism, and even then it could not possibly be so bad.

Not satisfied with his comparison, Hitchens then quotes the passage, which is, indeed, rather cringe-making. The new edition is little discussed except for this description of it as

…a sort of boudoir edition, with a turquoise cover, gold-edged pages, and a fiddly little lace bookmark, looking surprisingly like a maiden aunt’s prayer book from sixty years ago. It seems that we cannot be done with this book.

Waugh leaves several comments about the trial in his letters, at least two of which touch on subjects raised in Hitchens’ article. In a letter sent to Ann Fleming during the trial, he wrote:

How I wish I had been called as a witness…to explain to the bemused jury that Lawrence’s reputation had been made by an illiterate clique at Cambridge. He couldn’t write for toffee. He is right down in the Spender class…Why did [the prosecution] not call expert witnesses? (Letters, p. 552).

In subsequent letters, he comments on John Sparrow’s explication of Lawrence’s description of buggery (of which description Hitchens makes rather a meal) in an Encounter article.

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Waugh Collector Named Chair of Huntington

The Huntington Library has named Loren Rothschild chair of its Board of Trustees. In its Press Release announcing the appointment, the Huntington provides this description of  Mr Rothschild’s career:

Los Angeles business executive and a rare book collector, Loren Rothschild has been a Huntington Trustee since 2009. Before that, he served for 18 years on the Board of Overseers. Rothschild’s interest in rare books and book collecting fueled his passion for the institution. He has long been a collector and scholar of the works of Samuel Johnson and Sir Richard Burton…Rothschild is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and the Board of Editors of the Yale edition of the Works of Samuel Johnson… In 2014, he and his wife, Frances, gave The Huntington a major collection of rare books and manuscripts by Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), considered one of the greatest English prose satirists of the 20th century. [See previous post.] Rothschild is president of Sycamore Hill Capital Group LLC, a private equity firm with locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. His wife is a presiding justice on the California Court of Appeal.

Mr and Mrs Rothschild were also benefactors of the Evelyn Waugh Society in 2017 when they acted as co-sponsors, with the Society and the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, of the conference held at the Huntington Library last May.

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