Waugh, Boyd and Manning

Evelyn Waugh is mentioned several times in an interview of novelist, critic  and screenwriter William Boyd published in the Australian Financial Review. The interviewer (Joe Aston) notes that Boyd’s fiction has been compared with Waugh’s from his very first published novel (A Good Man in Africa). Boyd also wrote the screenplay for the TV film of Scoop (and, although not mentioned, also for Sword of Honour). Aston goes on to explain how Waugh became an off-stage character in Boyd’s later novel Any Human Heart, in which Ian Fleming was among the many other literary characters featured, to which Boyd responds:

Fleming’s wife Anne was close to Evelyn Waugh, yet Waugh (who also drank himself to death) and Fleming, despite their similarities, hated each other. “He’d write the odd letter to the newspaper but was ill and morbidly obese and he’d just sort of given up. I’m the same age as Waugh was when he died,” Boyd, 63, says. “And I hope I have a few more years in me.”

Another writer, Peter Hitchens, also mentions Waugh in his Daily Mail blog. This is in his article on Olivia Manning’s Balkan and Levant Trilogies which Hitchens compares to Waugh’s war novels:

They run partly in parallel to Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Sword of Honour’ Trilogy (and his ‘Put Out More Flags’, which I tend to see as a separate but linked volume) , and as essential for understanding Britain’s part in the Second World War.

Both authors write about the war in the Balkans (Yugoslavia, in Waugh’s case, and Rumania/Greece, in Manning’s) and the Levant (Egypt). One primary difference, however, is that most of the action in Waugh’s novels takes place on the home front, whereas in Manning’s books almost all except for the first few pages takes place overseas.

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