News from Waugh Conference

The weblog of the Huntington Library (Verso) has posted an article by Barbara Cooke, Research Associate of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, and Chip Long, Chairman of the Evelyn Waugh Society, relating to the conference on Evelyn Waugh now underway at the Huntington:

Waugh’s appreciation for the book as object and as literary art is the inspiration behind the conference “Evelyn Waugh: Reader, Writer, Collector,” taking place on May 5 and 6 in Rothenberg Hall. The Rothschilds’ gift—which includes 250 rare books and reference books and 135 letters and manuscripts by the author—is the catalyst for the conference, a collaboration between The Huntington, the Evelyn Waugh Society, and the UK-based Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project.

Some highlights of the conference are described:

Both groups have lost no time in exploring The Huntington’s new holdings: Naomi Milthorpe, a 2015–16 short-term Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellow at The Huntington, has already incorporated her findings into a book, Evelyn Waugh’s Satire: Texts and Contexts, while Douglas Lane Patey, Sophia Smith Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College, has been studying the manuscript of Waugh’s Ninety-Two Days for his new edition of the travelogue. Both will be presenting at our conference, along with leading Waugh biographers, archivists, and editors.

Together, we will be exploring the concept of editing as an act of collection (gathering materials and collating across continents) and investigating what Waugh’s own collections of fine books and paintings can tell us about his life and work. The participation of archivists and one speaker who was present when the first of Waugh’s possessions made it to the United States will encourage us to reflect on the role institutions play in maintaining, interpreting, and promoting collections.

In addition to the conference, the Huntington has mounted an exhibition of some items from its Waugh archives. This will consist of the:

…  display, in the East Foyer of the Library’s Main Exhibition Hall, two items from the Rothschilds’ gift to the Library. The autograph manuscript of Ninety-two Days, with its slipcase, will be on view. This is Waugh’s 1933 account of his travel to Guyana and Brazil. Also on display will be the corrected typescript of Waugh’s first novel, Decline and Fall (1928), a satire of the honor codes of the British gentleman, the culture of Oxford, and the foibles of upper-class society.

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