Waugh Presentation Copies of More than Usual Interest

York Modern Books has published a list of new arrivals which includes two presentation copies of Waugh’s books of more than routine interest. The first is a copy of Scott-King’s Modern Europe which may have been presented to Waugh’s sometimes bête noire Hugh Trevor-Roper: 

Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “from Evelyn Waugh March 1947.” Bookplate of historian Hugh Trevor-Roper to the front pastedown. It is interesting that this copy belonged to Trevor-Roper as Waugh disliked him intensely, referring to him variously as “that blackguard” and “the demon don”… Waugh does not name the recipient of the inscription (he normally did), and it is interesting to speculate as to whether Waugh presented a copy of this work to a figure for whom he held a strong dislike. 

Item 2157; price £1000.00. It is also interesting to speculate why, if it was not presented to him, Trevor-Roper would have paid the extra cost of buying a signed copy of the book.

The second book is a copy of Waugh in Abyssinia presented in October 1936 to Mary Herbert, mother of Waugh’s second wife, Laura. The date is important as is explained in the seller’s description:

Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Mary Herbert with love from Evelyn Oct. 1936.” … The date of this inscription, October 1936, comes two months after Waugh’s first marriage had been annulled and is perhaps an attempt to mollify Mary. [The marriage took place in April 1937.] It is interesting to note that another copy of this work came up at auction (Sotheby’s 19th May 1977) inscribed to Auberon Herbert, his future father-in-law, who also strongly opposed the union between Waugh and Laura. 

Item 2156; price £1800.00. The “Auberon” Herbert to whom the earlier presentation was made must have been Waugh’s future brother-in-law, rather than father-in-law as the description suggests. Laura Herbert’s father was named Aubrey Herbert, and he died in 1923. While Waugh  ultimately developed cordial relations with Mary, his dealings with Auberon Herbert were always rather strained.

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