Literary Drinking Bouts

In today’s Guardian there is an article in the “Rereading” column by Mark Forsyth discussing the 10 most entertaining discriptions of drinking bouts in literature. One of those included is from Waugh’s novel Decline and Fall:

Decline and Fall starts with the famous drunk scene where Paul Pennyfeather is debagged by the Bollinger Club, but it ends with a better one. Waugh not only captures perfectly the ability of a drunkard to repeat himself ad nauseam, but he also uses those repetitions to make the final conversation of the book into a literary symphony of theme, repetition, variation and motif. And when the drunkard is told he drinks too much, he replies: “Oh, damn, what else is there to do?”

The drinker in the final scene is Peter Pastmaster (Margot’s son), but the confused roaring and broken glass of the Bollinger Club show up again there as well. Other novels with notable drinking bouts include Lucky Jim; Right Ho, Jeeves and Our Man in Havana.

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