In April 1962 Julian Jebb interviewed Evelyn Waugh for the Paris Review:
He showed me into a comfortable, soberly furnished room, with a fine view over the trees across Hyde Park. As he moved about the room he repeated twice under his breath, “The horrors of London life! The horrors of London life!”
“I hope you won’t mind if I go to bed,” he said, going into the bathroom. From there he gave me a number of comments and directions:
“Go and look out of the window. This is the only hotel with a civilized view left in London . . .. Do you see a brown-paper parcel? Open it, please.”
I did so.
“What do you find?”
“A box of cigars.”
“Do you smoke?”
“Yes. I am smoking a cigarette now.”
“I think cigarettes are rather squalid in the bedroom. Wouldn’t you rather smoke a cigar?”
He reentered, wearing a pair of white pajamas and metal-rimmed spectacles. He took a cigar, lit it, and got into bed.
The interview is illuminating. At one point Waugh states, “I regard writing not as investigation of character, but as an exercise in the use of language, and with this I am obsessed. I have no technical psychological interest. It is drama, speech, and events that interest me.” When asked if there were any books he would like to have written and found impossible, he replies, “I have done all I could. I have done my best.”
The deadline for the 2013 Evelyn Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest is Dec. 31.
Essays by undergraduates on any aspect of the life or work of Evelyn Waugh are solicited for the contest, which will be judged by the editorial board of Evelyn Waugh Studies. The winner will receive $500.
A recent episode of the BBC’s series The Culture Show (November 6, 2013), entitled Wars of the Heart,
dealt with the experience of several writers during the Blitz. The presenter was James Runcie. The focus was on Graham Greene and Elizabeth Bowen, with lesser consideration given to novelist Henry Yorke (who published under the name Henry Green) and US poet Hilda Doolittle (“H.D.”). The program seems to have been inspired to some extent by Lara Feigel’s recent book The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War.
She was interviewed for the program.
Waugh was named in the program as one of a group of writers — those previously mentioned plus Dylan Thomas — who were said to have frequented the pubs of Fitzrovia during the war. Examples cited were the Wheatsheaf, the Bricklayers Arms and the Marquess of Granby, all still in existence. It was suggested that Waugh might “perhaps” have been among the punters if he happened to be in town. This seems rather doubtful. Waugh by his own account seems to have done most of his wartime drinking in his gentlemen’s clubs around St James’s Square or nearby watering holes such as the Ritz, at least while he was in London. Waugh’s second appearance was in conjunction with the period of 1942 when the front line retreated somewhat from London. Waugh described London in this period as:
…crowded and dead. Claridge’s slowly decaying. Wine outrageous in price and quality…Newspapers always late and usually deficient. [Diary, December 1941]
The program may be repeated in the future on the BBC or shown on foreign television channels. It’s worth watching for its period flavor. Clips — but not the segments in which Waugh appears — are currently available on BBC iPlayer. Feigel’s book frequently cites Waugh for information about the writers whose wartime lives she describes (particularly Graham Greene and Henry Yorke), although Waugh himself is not among her subjects.
Posted in Diaries, Documentaries, London, Sightings, Television Programs, World War II
Tagged BBC, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke, James Runcie, Lara Feigel, The Culture Show, The Love-Charm of Bombs, Wars of the Heart
From the overview of the event posted at the University of Leicester IT Services site:
Join Martin Stannard, Principal Investigator, and Barbara Cooke, Research Associate, to find out more about the AHRC-funded Evelyn Waugh Project including how it plans to use new digital humanities technology to add value to the new Waugh editions and ensure the work reaches as many people as possible. Professor Stannard will talk about the aims of the project before Dr Cooke discusses some of the immediate challenges it faces.
Additional information about the event — scheduled to last one hour — is available at the page linked above.
The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh (CWEW) project has announced on its new Twitter account (@CWEvelynWaugh) that the 1st International Conference for the project will be held at the University of Leicester, April 23-26, 2015. Additional details will be forthcoming.
All Evelyn Waugh’s works of fiction, both novels and short stories, are now available in audiobook format from Audible.com. The Complete Short Stories includes Mr. Loveday’s Little Outing, Scott-King’s Modern Europe, Love Among the Ruins, Work Suspended, and Basil Seal Rides Again. No works of non-fiction are currently offered.
Audible’s catalog also includes two works about Evelyn Waugh, Frances Donaldson’s Evelyn Waugh and Alec Waugh’s My Brother Evelyn and Other Profiles.
This is the last reminder we’ll be posting about the weekly broadcasts of BBC Radio 4′s adaptation of the Sword of Honour trilogy.
New episodes are broadcast on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. UK time, and you have seven days from the broadcast date to catch up via the program’s streamable archive.
Remember the difference between standard American and English cryptic crosswords? For the answer “dumb,” an American crossword might provide the clue, “Unable to speak,” whereas an English one would say, “Unspeakably stupid.” If you like your crossword clues a little crooked like that, you’ll like Round Britain Quiz.
The BBC describes Round Britain Quiz, which has been broadcast on BBC Radio since 1947, as “[r]adio’s most fiendish quiz, with cryptic questions drawing on unpredictable fields of knowledge.” The latest episode (Sept. 30th) features a question involving Evelyn Waugh.
That’s a pretty weak hook upon which to hang an EW News posting, but if you aren’t familiar with the program do please give it a try. It presents intellectually demanding questions in a cryptic and entertaining way that Americans in particular will find unusual.
You have seven days left to listen to the episode at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qfz6.
BEETLES+HUXLEY (who seemingly favor all-caps for everything) has for sale a print of Cecil Beaton’s celebrated 1955 photographic portrait of Evelyn Waugh standing behind a gate to which is affixed a sign that states, “ENTREE INTERDITE AUX PROMENEURS.”
B+H describe the photograph as follows:
EVELYN WAUGH, CHATEAU ST FIRMIN, CHANTILLY, APRIL 1955
BEATON, SIR CECIL, CBE (1904-1980)
MODERN SILVER GELATIN PRINT STAMPED WITH SOTHEBY’S EDITION STAMP, INSCRIBED WITH TITLE AND NUMBERED ON REVERSE
18 X 18 INCHES
FROM AN EDITION OF FIFTY
The price is £1,400, or approximately $2,254 at today’s GBP/USD exchange rate.