Biography Reviewed in Waugh’s Old Neighborhoods

The new biography of Evelyn Waugh by Philip Eade has been reviewed in the Camden Review, which is an arts and entertainment section carried in local North London papers, including the Camden New Journal and the Islington Tribune. The review is by Gerald Isaaman, and it focuses on Waugh’s early life in what is now part of Camden and in Islington where he lived:

at 17a Canonbury Square… his first marital home with his bride Evelyn Gardner… There are many more delicious sagas and demeaning disasters in this tremendous re-visitation to Waugh’s life. Yet, unbelievably, this is not the end of the war on Waugh industry. The first of 43 volumes of Waugh’s complete works, edited by his grandson, Alexander, is due out next year to add to his posthumous glory.

Another review by Liz Dexter appears on a literary website Shiny New Books. Dexter describes the new materials available to Eade and is one of the few reviewers to note a source for these other than the archives of Alexander Waugh:

Eade also acknowledges a debt to [Waugh biographer] Selina Hastings…as he was able to access her research materials and she gave him some stories that she hadn’t included in her own book.

The thoughtful and informative review concludes:

The book is extremely well referenced, with comprehensive notes plus starred footnotes for anything requiring immediate explanation, a good solid bibliography and a good index…Although it’s made clear that this is not a literary biography, Eade weaves the writing of the books and the influences on their characters, as well as their reception by friends and critics, into the narrative. This is an approachable but intelligent and well-referenced book which stands well as a monument to Waugh and is even-handed without venturing into hero-worship or name-calling. It sets the novels and non-fiction works well in their context and would serve as a good introduction to Waugh’s life, times and works.


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