Early Waugh Book on Offer

London booksellers Peter Harrington are offering an early Waugh publication from 1927. This is a collection called the Decorative Drawings of Francis Crease for which Waugh wrote the 5 page preface. This was published the year after the appearance of his first book, PRB. Both books were privately published. Here is the bookseller’s description:

A scarce publication, the product is part of a series of private lessons in calligraphy and sketching given by Crease whilst Waugh was at Lancing. The close relationship between master and pupil eventually broke down (apparently on account of Waugh damaging a favourite knife of Creases), although Waugh never doubted the profound influence these lessons had on him: I owe anything at Lancing worth remembering to him (Evelyn Waugh, Diaries, 8th May 1920). Waugh’s preface is the only text, giving this publication strong claims for inclusion in the primary section of his bibliography. 

PRB is included in the “primary section” of Waugh’s biography. Waugh wrote the book and saw it into print with the cooperation of his friend Alastair Graham who was working for the printer at the time. That was not the case for the Crease Drawings. In A Little Learning, Waugh says he was asked by Crease to write the preface. Waugh was not responsible for the book’s publication, which was apparently managed by Crease, nor does he ever mention being consulted about the selection or arrangement of the drawings or otherwise exercising editorial supervision over the book. Indeed, he later writes in A Little Learning that he was given a copy of the book by a friend 30 years after its publication and had not seen the book during that passage of time. These circumstances would indicate that Waugh did not consider himself the author of the book, contrary to the bookseller’s suggestion. The book is priced at £2,500. Should one assume that the price would be even higher if Waugh’s bibliographers had deemed him to be the author? The preface is reprinted in both A Little Order and Essays, Articles and Reviews.


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