Academic Reassessment of Remote People

Academic and literary scholar/critic Kate Macdonald has recently posted on her website a review of Waugh’s 1931 travel book Remote People. It in she applies today’s social and political standards to Waugh’s book. She finds much of the humor to be lost in the postcolonial period. On the other hand, there are some insights offered in Waugh’s book about a part of the world still relatively unknown that remain valid or worth considering:

His descriptions of the preparations for the coronation, and all the ways it differed from his expectations, are certainly absorbing to read. I found myself counting the disparaging references that rely on the reader’s prior knowledge of the anthropology of upper-class English tribal practices.

She also offers some background information on Irene Ravensdale, the English aristocrat who was also in Addis for the coronation and is mentioned by Waugh in his book. Whether Macdonald offers anything on this subject not previously discussed by Waugh’s biographers, I couldn’t say, although the information about Ravendale’s connections to Oswald Mosley might be new.

Macdonald has written several books on John Buchan as well as books about literary reflections of social change and middlebrow literature. She is currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Reading. She kindly posted a link to her article on the Society’s Twitter page. 

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