Waugh in the Press

The Daily Telegraph’s parliamentary sketchwriter, Michael Deacon, declared himself to have been overcome by too much news last week: Brexit, resignations, votes of no confidence, refusals to resign, Boris Johnson in general, etc., have been too much for him. In yesterday’s column, he looks to Evelyn Waugh for advice:

There’s only thing for it. In Evelyn Waugh’s Decline and Fall, the hero Paul Pennyfeather finds that after a few days in prison he’s lost all interest in current affairs. “During his long years of freedom,” we’re told, “he had scarcely allowed a day to pass without reading fairly fully from at least two newspapers, always pressing on with a series of events which never came to an end. Once the series was broken he had little desire to resume it.”

That’s the answer. I need to go to prison. Urgently.

A commentator on Vermont Public Radio (Stephanie Greene) was considering the problem of guests who fail to make timely replies to invitations. She suggests one alternative that had been used by Evelyn Waugh: 

My favorite regret note was by the writer Evelyn Waugh, who sent a printed postcard that read: “Mr. Evelyn Waugh deeply regrets that he is unable to do what has been so kindly proposed.”

The Guardian’s radio columnist, David Hepworth, looking ahead to next week’s programs, was inspired to make this observation in his Saturday column (“This week’s best radio: the cold war and the cold Waugh”) :

There’s something faintly incredible about the fact that Waugh went to Hollywood in 1947 to discuss a possible screen version of Brideshead Revisited. This is one of the eyebrow-raising morsels that make Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited (Weekdays, 9.45am, Radio 4) such an appealing book of the week. Just about everybody Waugh met – and he met a lot of people – came away stunned by his rudeness and arrogance. In his defence, he had terrible piles.

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