Journalists in Literature Surveyed in New Book

In a book to be published tomorrow by Bloomsbury, Dr Sarah Lonsdale, who teaches at the City University London, surveys the role of the journalist in British literature over the period since 1900. The book is entitled The Journalist in British Fiction and Film: Guarding the Guardians from 1900 to the Present. Waugh and his works feature prominently in the book. In an excerpt, Lonsdale includes one of her references to Waugh’s life and writings. This appears on the webpage The Conversation where she writes: 

Interwar novelists who wrote for newspapers now questioned the news industry in their fictions. Rose Macaulay, although a successful novelist who needed her freelance Daily Mail income, savagely attacked the stereotyping of women readers and writers in her novel Keeping Up Appearances (1928). Evelyn Waugh, who had a trial doing work experience on the Daily Express, and who wrote for the Daily Mail, famously lampooned the foreign correspondent press pack in his classic novel Scoop (1938)).

In the PressGazette Dr Lonsdale selects the top 1o fictional journalists based on the researches for her book. Her first choice is William Boot from Scoop:

You’ve probably all read about William Boot, the “idiot savant” country writer in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, whose bucolic prose-style has yet to find an equal: “Feather-footed through the plashy fens passes the questing vole…” But of the dozens of fictional journalists created by practising or some-time journalists (Waugh had an unsuccessful work experience trial at the Daily Express), which are the best? For my new book, The Journalist in British Fiction and Film: Guarding the Guardians from 1900 to the Present I read nearly 160 novels, plays and poems by and about journalists.

Lonsdale then describes her other selections in addition to Boot. These include Thomas Fowler from Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and John Dyson from Michael Frayn’s Towards the End of the Morning.

According to the text available on Amazon, Lonsdale also cites Waugh’s views on and depictions of journalists from his other books, including Waugh in Abyssinia, Remote People and Robbery Under Law as well as from several articles in Essays, Articles and Reviews. 

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