Literary Guides Link Waugh and Madresfield

Two guide books to houses with literary associations have linked Evelyn Waugh to Madresfield Court in Worcestershire. That was the home of the Lygon family and inspired certain features of Brideshead Castle and the Flyte family in Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. The guide books discussing this connection are Writers’ Houses by Nick Channer which was published last year and is currently for sale and The House of Fiction by Phyllis Richardson which is currently looking for crowdfunding on the internet. The prospectus of Richardson’s book describes the following chapter:

10. War-torn Nostalgia: Evelyn Waugh plots Charles Ryder’s return to Brideshead while a guest at Madresfield

Waugh’s association with Madresfield Court and the Flyte family has previously been developed and documented by Waugh’s biographers. This includes, most recently, Paula Byrne’s Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead and Jane Mulvagh’s Madresfield: One House, One Family, One Thousand Years. Contrary to the suggestion in the second guidebook’s prospectus, Waugh’s novel was not written or “plotted” while he was a guest at Madresfield. It was, in fact, mostly written at Chagford, Devon, in February-June 1944, as indicated by Waugh at the novel’s conclusion. Waugh did write a novel while  a guest at Madresfield (at least partially), but that was Black Mischief. Channer writes that the desk at which Waugh composed the novel is still on display at Madresfield.

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