Waugh Works Named in Newspaper Shortlists

Two of Waugh’s books feature in recent newspaper shortlists. In the Daily Mail, novelist Charles Cumming names Scoop as his desert island book. Cumming is a writer of spy novels said by some to be the John Le Carre and Len Deighton of his generation. His Thomas Kell spy series that began in 2012 as an intended trilogy with A Foreign Country has reached its third volume with the recent U.K. publication of The Divided Spy and is reported to be in development for a TV series. Here’s what Cumming says about Scoop:

I put off reading Waugh’s comic masterpiece until last year, thinking it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Big mistake. Scoop is easily the funniest novel I’ve ever read.

An online newspaper called, appropriately, shortlist.com has prepared a list of 13 well known novels that were published under titles different from those originally conceived. Waugh’s example is Brideshead Revisited which he intended to be titled A House of the Faith. Another example they might have considered is Decline and Fall which Waugh originally wanted to call Untoward Incidents. Other entries include Lolita that was  to be The Kingdom by the Sea and The Great Gatsby that was written as Trimalchio in West Egg. Perhaps the best decision to change an original title was the book written as Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice. That one was ultimately published as Mein Kampf. The original title is probably even worse in German.


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