The Loved One Among One-Liners

Comedian and journalist Craig Marshall Smith also writes a weblog. A recent offering which is posted on Golden Transcript is devoted mainly to one-liners. Here are some examples:

A dung beetle walks into a bar and says, “Is this stool taken?”

Julius Caesar walks into a bar, holds up two fingers and says, “Five beers please.”

Is that what you want? It’s beneath me. It’s under me. I think you are trying to preposition me.

He works his way around to a series of one-liners based on the Hollywood film adaptation of Waugh’s novella The Loved One:

Jerry Seinfeld? No. Jonathan Winters? Yes.

Winters plays brothers in the film version of Evelyn Waugh’s “The Loved One” – “the motion picture with something to offend everyone.”

Evelyn Waugh, a man, was briefly married to a woman named Evelyn. Evelyn Gardner.

“The Loved One” is called a “black comedy.” It came and went in 1965, but it is seen as something of a prize since then.

I admit that I laughed, and I rarely laugh.

Another blogger posting on FilmFanatic.org files a response to the review of the film adaptation of The Loved One in a classic list of “Must See” films by Danny Peary published in 1986. Here’s an excerpt:

Tony Richardson’s adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1948 novel — co-scripted by Christopher Isherwood and Terry Southern — is beautifully shot by DP Haskell Wexler, headily surreal (“Let me explain the dream to you — this entire place is a dream.”), and has “a scene to offend everyone”, but features “plodding” direction and fails to pack a satisfying overall punch. Part of the problem lies in failure to connect with Morse [playing Dennis Barlow], who lacks charisma and doesn’t inspire much investment. There are also far too many cameos and sub-plots, including several not present in Waugh’s original novel … By the time Dana Andrews shows up in a small role as a general, the story has twisted too many times to maintain interest. …

P.S. As Peary notes, “one of the best scenes has Morse visiting Comer’s unsteady house-on-stilts, which is built in a slide area”.

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One of Waugh’s Clubs Will House a School

The Guardian reports that the building at 106 Piccadilly from this autumn will house the Eaton Square Upper School:

…the first new co-ed private school in central London for decades, which is preparing to open its doors to the children of the super-rich bankers, aristocrats and oligarchs of Mayfair and Chelsea.

The building is best known for having been the home of the St James’s Club for over 100 years:

The historic building – on some of London’s most valuable land – is restricted by the council for use for social or community benefit. It was previously the London outpost of a Malaysian university. It was once the home of the French ambassador and for 110 years it was the St James’s gentlemen’s club, where Ian Fleming and Evelyn Waugh were members.

Waugh made an upward progression through the London gentlemen’s clubs. His first was the Savile Club, of which both his father Arthur and brother Alec were members. According to Selina Hastings, the Savile “lacked the patrician character that properly suited his self-image.” He moved on to the St James’s “which had distinguished diplomatic affiliations and was situated in an imposing eighteenth-century house in Piccadilly.” In 1941, Waugh was elected to White’s, the “oldest and grandest of the gentlemen’s clubs, with a rakish, lordly glamour, reflected by its prominent position and distinctive architecture at the top of St James’s” (Hastings, p. 443). The St James’s Club merged with Brooks’s in 1978 and vacated its premises on Piccadilly at that time. The Savile Club on Brook St in Mayfair and White’s at the top of St James’s live on.

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Evelyn Waugh and Clare Balding’s Great Grandfather

In the latest episode of the BBC’s series Who Do You Thing You Are?, the subject is their sports presenter Clare Balding. As a member of the LGBT community, she is interested in finding out if any of her ancestors were inclined that way. Her first investigation takes her to the grandson of  Sir Malcolm Bullock (1890-1966) who was her great grandfather on her mother’s side. Bullock was a Conservative MP 1923-53 and was rumored to have had an affair with painter Rex Whistler in the early 1930s. Bullock’s wife (Balding’s great grandmother), nee Lady Victoria Stanley, had died in a hunting accident in 1927. Balding is shown several letters from Bullock’s archives, including one from Evelyn Waugh. The subject relates to a mutual  female friend or acquaintance about whom they are gossiping. Alas, we only see the last page (06:21) with Waugh’s signature, so do not have the date. There are references to Bullock in Waugh’s published letters but no letter to Bullock is included. Waugh mentions to his wife having lunch with Bullock in 1945 and recalls Bullock’s  interest in American undertakers in a 1962 letter to Nancy Mitford. There are no letters from Bullock to Waugh archived in the Evelyn Waugh Papers at the British Library.

Balding’s research does not pursue Bullock’s friendship with Waugh but does look into the Rex Whistler archive in Salisbury to find some support for there having been a brief affair or flirtation with Bullock in 1931. Bullock was also a friend of Philip Sassoon and his coterie that included Bob Boothby, Chips Channon, etc., so Balding concludes that, at least after his wife’s untimely death, Bullock was probably homosexual or bisexual. The program is reviewed in today’s Daily Telegraph. It may be viewed over the internet on BBC iPlayer for about 4 weeks, but this will require a UK intenet connection.

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Eade Biography Paperback Available in UK

Philip Eade’s biography of Evelyn Waugh has been issued in paperback in the UK by publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The recommended price is  £10.99 (Amazon.co.uk £10.68). The Daily Mail has a brief review by Jane Shilling in its Must Reads column that concludes:

…[Philip Eade] does his best, examining Waugh’s unhappy first marriage, his love affair with his Oxford contemporary, Alastair Graham, and his tendency to fall deeply in love with girls who didn’t reciprocate his adoration. Pacy and gossipy, it’s a welcome reminder of the deep feeling and lambent elegance of Evelyn Waugh’s own writing.

The Sunday Express has also noted the new paperback edition and Charlotte Heathcote recommends Eade’s book for summer non-fiction reading:

The novelist Evelyn Waugh: what was he good for? Devastating, wickedly funny portraits of the champers-swigging British upper classes is the answer. … This is a deliciously readable life of the great man with all his sidebars of shame.

UPDATE (23 July 2017): A notice relating to the paperback edition from today’s Sunday Express was added.

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Waugh Exhibition Catalogue Available Online

The catalogue of E.W. Pinxit: An Exhibition of the Graphic Art of Evelyn Waugh is available online and may be downloaded in pdf format from this link. It is written by Mark Everett with the assistence of Ed Maggs and Alice Rowell, with photography by Ivo Karaivanov. There is a textual discussion of Waugh’s career as an artist as well as an identification and brief description (where relevant) of each of the more than 60 items on display, many of which are illustrated. Some items are for sale, in which case a price is listed. Here’s an excerpt of the text:

We have the opportunity to see in the present exhibition more of Waugh’s graphic work than has ever been brought together before and exhibited in public. Confronted by this body of work, the vast majority of which Waugh had completed by the age of 30, the question arises whether the world lost a significant artist, when he decided to concentrate exclusively on prose.

Waugh himself had no illusions about the limitations of his talent for graphic art. In A Little Learning (1964), he says of his short time at Heatherley’s art school in 1924: “As a result of the exercises in the studio my eye grew sharpened and my hand more responsive until my drawings were by no means the worst in the class; but boredom soon overcame me. I enjoyed making an agreeable arrangement of line and shadow on the paper, but I was totally lacking in that obsession with solid form, the zeal for probing the structure of anatomy and for relating to one another the recessions of planes, which alone could make the long hours before the models exciting.” …

What would Waugh have made of the present exhibition? One suspects that he would have been amused that anyone had considered it an exercise worth undertaking. As a craftsman, though, he would surely have been gratified that his largely ephemeral work of so long ago was still being appreciated. Above all, one suspects that he would wish to repeat his injunction from the Author’s Note to Decline and Fall: Please bear in mind throughout that IT IS MEANT TO BE FUNNY.

Ths exhibition opened earlier this week and continues through Friday, 28 July at Maggs Bros., 48 Bedford Square, London WC1.

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Waugh’s Article on Catholics in America Quoted

Author and critic Terry Teachout who writes for the Wall Steert Journal and Commentary has posted on his arts news weblog, without comment, a quote from Evelyn Waugh’s 1949 Life Magazine article entitled “The American Epoch in the Catholic Church”:

The United States does not form part of Christendom in the traditional sense of the word. She is the child of late 18th Century ‘enlightenment’ and the liberalism of her founders has persisted through all the changes of her history and penetrated into every part of her life. Separation of church and state was an essential dogma. Government, whatever its form, was looked upon as the captain of a liner, whose concern is purely with navigation. He holds his command ultimately from the passengers. Under his immediate authority the public rooms of his ship are used for religious assemblies of all kinds, while in the bar anyone may quietly blaspheme.

This article was the result of two trips Waugh made to the USA in late 1948 and early 1949 spending about four months in the country in total. Although Waugh usually turned such extensive trips into travel books or novels (or both) in this case the primary result was this article. He was hosted by Time-Life and Roman Catholic colleges and universities where he lectured and may have thought it improper to satirize those targets. In any event, he had already satirized the USA in The Loved One and several articles based on his previous trip to Los Angeles in 1947. The Life Magazine article is rather stiff and humorless compared to Waugh’s other writings, and its depiction of Roman Catholicism during what in retrospect may seem its “Golden Age” in the USA is dated. No one writing in 1949 could have foreseen the changes in the American Catholic Church that would occur due to the election of John F Kennedy, Vatican II and the sex abuse scandals in the years since then. The article was also published in a slightly different version in The Tablet and that version was collected in Waugh’s Essays, Articles and Reviews. The original Life Magazine article (19 September 1949, p. 134) complete with the lavish illustrations typical of that publication can be viewed on the internet at this link.

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Martin D’Arcy and Alec Waugh Archives Described

There are recent postings relating to the UK archives holding the papers of Fr Martin D’Arcy and Alec Waugh. Fr D’Arcy’s archives are discussed in an article on the Jesuits in Britain website:

The collection contains letters from over 700 different correspondents and demonstrates D’Arcy’s connections to high-profile figures of the time. Notable correspondents include the Asquith family, Hilaire Belloc, John Betjeman, Anthony Burgess, Kenneth Clark, T S Eliot, the Kennedys, Percy Wyndham Lewis, Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens, Siegfried Sassoon, and J R R Tolkien….D’Arcy’s popularity among the social elite of the day is again glimpsed at in a folder of material relating to a dinner arranged by Evelyn Waugh and Tom Burns, publisher and former editor of The Tablet, for D’Arcy, 24 July 1950 at the Hyde Park Hotel. Tickets cost 23 shillings each and the event was widely reported in the national newspapers. Speakers included Evelyn Waugh, T S Eliot and Douglas Woodruff, while Lord Pakenham presided over the occasion. A surviving invitation to the dinner exists, among a list of attendees, RSVPs and news cuttings, on the back of which D’Arcy has written notes for his own speech. The Evening Standard stated that the dinner was held simply ‘because they like him’.

Several items from the archive are illustrated in the article, including a letter from Senator John Kennedy after he was elected President as well as the dinner invitation described above. The Jesuit UK archives are located at 114 Mount Street, London W1 as well as at Campion Hall, Oxford, and Stonyhurst College. Where the D’Arcy papers are located in not mentioned.

The Old Shirburnian society has posted several photos from the school archives that are related to Alec Waugh. Some of the photos show teams and school groups which include Alec. His papers about his time at Sherborne School are filed in the school archives. Other papers are housed at the University of Texas and Boston University. There is also an explanation of Alec’s career at Sherborne at this WordPress website. In this article, it is explained that Alec and his father were dropped from the membership in the Old Shirburnian society after the scandal following his book Loom of Youth which included descriptions of homosexuality among schoolboys. The school also refused to accept Evelyn Waugh as a student. According to the article:

In 1933 the OS Society decided that the Waughs could wear the tie again. Alec sent his two boys to the school. He donated all the papers relating to Loom of Youth to the school.

Of course, by then it was too late to compensate Evelyn for having been barred from attendance.

Another blogger discusses Alec’s claim to have invented the cocktail party:

Alec Waugh (brother of the novelist Evelyn) insisted in a 1970 Esquire essay that he invented the idea of drinks-before-dinner in the 1920s. Others point to a Tacoma Times article from April 1917 crediting a St. Louis socialite, Mrs. Clara Bell Walsh, as the first to hold a party devoted exclusively to mixed drinks.

The article posted on the atlasobscura.com website goes on to support the position that Mrs Walsh may have claimed the record, in the USA at least, in which case this year would be the centenary of her event. However, the contemporaary newspaper story that is copied in the web article says that the cocktail party “already is an established St Louis institution, filling a long felt Sunday want in society circles.” So, its centenary may already have passed.  Alec’s claim related mostly to parties he organized in London. See earlier post. That UK cocktail party centenary is still awaited.

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The Eater at Quaglino’s with Waugh

The London edition of Eater.com, an online food journal, has done a profile on the long-lived Mayfair establishment of Quaglino’s. Waugh’s association with Quaglino’s was mentioned in a previous post that was based on the restaurant’s own advertising copy. In her article for Eater.com, Phillipa Snow fills most of her story (“Quaglino’s: A History of Restaurant Glamour”) with reports of the restaurant’s fame as a place for celebrities to do what they do best (which does not necessarily involve enjoying a meal). In recounting the restaurant’s history, Snow mentions Waugh:

Evelyn Waugh, the author, took his mistress, Audrey, there at least once, though it did not stop his being cock-blocked after dinner. “After cocktails,” says one record of the evening, “[Evelyn] went to Quaglino’s with Audrey … From dinner, Waugh went to a party. Then went round to Audrey’s for another party. There he waited for hours to sleep with Audrey but ‘she was too tired.’”

The “Audrey” would be Audrey Lucas and the “record” of the evening is that recounted by Duncan McLaren on his Evelyn Waugh internet site where there is a detailed and well-researched description of Waugh’s on-and-off affair with Lucas. This particular Quaglino visit is sourced from Waugh’s diary for 19 June 1930. Waugh was a frequent customer at Quaglino’s in 1930, the year after it opened. He recounts in his diaries at least 3 dinners with Audrey and one with Nancy Mitford on its premises in a four-week period (Diaries, pp. 316-23). Two years later, he returned with Teresa Jungman and entertained her the night before leaving for British Guiana. See previous post.

Snow sums up her estimation of the restaurant as more a place to be seen than to eat:

…Quaglino’s is a place for looking, being looked at. Food and drink could not be anything but secondary to the mood.

Indeed, Snow doesn’t even tell us what she ate, although she does mention the drinks (strong and expensive) and the ashtrays (Art Deco).

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Maggs Bros Exhibit Opens Today

There are additional notices regarding the Maggs Bros. booksellers exhibit of Waugh’s graphic artwork. See previous posts. These appear on the Spectator Life and artdaily.org websites. The Spectator Life article also has several reproductions. The exhibit opens today, 18 July and runs through Friday, 28 July. The artdaily notice includes this  description of the exhibit’s highlights, revealing details not previously published:

• A manuscript of Waugh’s second novel Vile Bodies, 1930, accompanied by a colour proof of Waugh’s most famous design for the dust jacket and title page illustration. The proof is inscribed by Waugh to Bryan and Diana Guinness (née Mitford): “This is to be the cover. Do you like it? I do.” Part of the Elliott collection, the manuscript is being lent by the Brotherton Library of Leeds University.

• A painting of Napoleon by the invented artist “Bruno Hat,” a hoax that fooled many in British high society and was masterminded, in part, by Waugh, 1929.

• An original untitled pen and ink and wash drawing by Evelyn Waugh: Cocktail hour in a hotel lounge with cactus, modern literature, a cephalopod in a fish tank, a bare-bottomed statue and negro waiter. Signed and dated 1929. Possibly an unused illustration for Vile Bodies.

• The brilliant 1938 dust jacket design for Waugh’s celebrated journalism novel Scoop. Although not formally attributed to Waugh, it is understood that he played a major hand in its conception and design. It is one of the most well-known dustjackets of the period, and had to be revised after Lord Beaverbrook’s Daily Express (parodied as the “Daily Beast”) objected to the similarity of their title lettering…

Maggs Bros. bookshop is located in new premises at 48 Bedford Square in Bloomsbury, London WC1.

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Arcadia and Country Houses (More)

The BBC Radio 3 broadcast of the Words and Music episode on the subject of “Arcadia” is now available on the internet at this link. It is more music than words, and if you want to know source of either, you will need to follow the information that appears below the box with the start button. Some of the connections between words and music are obvious, others less so. In the entry prior to the Waugh reading, for example, the words are by Rachel Carson from Silent Spring describing how once there was an ideal US city surrounded by farms where all lived in harmony with nature but that was long ago (00:41:00). This is followed by Joni Mitchell singing “Big Yellow Taxi” with the refrain “They paved paradise and built up a parking lot.” In the case of Waugh, the reading comes from Book One, Chapter One, of Brideshead Revisited (Revised Ed., Penguin, pp. 25-26) beginning “At Swindon we turned off the main road…” and continuing through “‘…I could come back and dig it up and remember'” (00:44:30). This is followed by an excerpt from Debussy, “Sonate–Pastorale”.

In another contribution to the topic of writers and country houses (see previous post), the Times reviews a book by Phyllis Richardson entitled The House of Fiction: From Pemberley to Brideshead. This supports the proposition that one will know a writer’s work better if one visits the houses where the writer lived or which are described in the works:

We gain much, [Richardson] argues, by visiting the homes of great writers, especially those whose novels hinge on houses built, sold, married into, burnt down or left to go to rack and ruin…House of Fiction gives us old familiars — Jane Austen’s Pemberley, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead — and other less obvious houses, such as Corley Court from Alan Hollinghurst’s The Stranger’s Child and Crome from Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow, a souped-up satire on Lady Ottoline Morrell’s boho-conchie house parties at Garsington.

The reviewer (Laura Freeman) doesn’t say much about which house is described in the chapter on Brideshead, but the publisher’s description on Amazon suggests that it might be Madresfield Court where “Evelyn Waugh plotted Charles Ryder’s return to Brideshead while a guest…” Well, there is a connection, but that’s not where the book was written; this may not be down to Ms Richardson so much as an overzealous blurb writer.  The book was mostly written, as recorded on its final page, in “Chagford, February-June 1944” at the Easton Court Hotel. Freeman also notes some structures she wishes Richardson had included in her book:

In any project like this you inevitably feel piqued that a favourite has been left out. Richardson gives us Miss Havisham’s Satis House and Mr Wemmick’s cheery Walworth cottage in Great Expectations, but not Mr Boffin’s “spanker” of a house in an “Eminently Aristocratic” part of town in Our Mutual Friend. We read of Waugh’s Brideshead, but not Mrs Beste-Chetwynde’s “ferro-concrete and aluminium” modernist palace in Decline and Fall. No chapter, either, on Toad Hall, Badger’s sett, Rat’s lodge or Mole’s hill, the four enviable bachelor retreats of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.

While there are possibly real world equivalents of Toad Hall (Mapledurham House) and  Satis House (although I thought it was burnt down), the modern Kings Thursday may have been a figment of Waugh’s creative imagination.

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