Publisher of Waugh’s Diaries and Letters Dies

The Daily Telegraph has announced the death at the age of 96 of George Weidenfeld, who published Waugh’s Diaries and Letters. According to the Telegraph, Weidenfeld

sometimes said that [Vladimir Nabokov’s] Lolita (1959, a “cautionary tale”) and [Mary McCarthy’s] The Group (1963) were the books of which he was proudest; other landmarks were The Double Helix (1968) by James Watson, and Isaiah Berlin’s essay The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953).

Although he did not publish any of Waugh’s books during Waugh’s lifetime, Weidenfeld did attempt to publish a collection of essays relating to the U and Non-U controversy, including an essay by Waugh in response to an article by Mitford. This became the subject of a series of letters between Mitford and Waugh in which they opposed what they saw as a plot by Weidenfeld and Irving Kristol, editor of Encounter in which Mitford’s article and Waugh’s response had first appeared, to land the rights for Weidenfeld to publish the collection. In the end the book was published by Hamish Hamilton under the title Noblesse Oblige: An Enquiry Into the Characteristics of the English Aristocracy. The subtitle was suggested by Waugh who thought something pompous was called for. Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, pp. 371-75.

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