Retour Ă  l’europe moderne

Waugh’s French publisher Robert Laffont has issued a new printing of the French translation of Brideshead Revisited (Retour Ă  Brideshead). This is a paperback as was the previous version but has a new cover with new dimensions and pagination in the firm’s Pavillons Poche format. The reissue was recently reviewed on the French books blog “Dans le manoir aux livres”. After summarizing the plot, the reviewer concludes (translation by Google): 

The gallery of characters is excellent. Their psychology is deep and well worked. Sometimes it is necessary to know how to read between the lines especially with regard to the enigmatic and elusive Sebastian. Brideshead, the family home of the Flytes is also a protagonist in its own right. This is where the great moments unfold.  The end leaves the reader a little disarmed as to the future that is in store for the different characters. I am very happy to have finally discovered this novel thanks to its reissue. I really like this kind of bittersweet story as the British know so well how to write. This book is resolutely modern and audacious for the time. Now I ask myself a lot of question about Evelyn Waugh himself. It seems that he put much of his person in this novel. I am curious to learn a little more about him.

On this side of the Atlantic, The Dallas Morning News has published a list of classic novels recommended as summer holiday reading. To qualify for the list, a novel must be  “relatively short (i.e. beach portable) and, most important, fun to read.” One of those listed is by Waugh:

Waugh is perhaps best known for his acclaimed 1945 novel about British nostalgia, Brideshead Revisited, but he was also a great satirist. Case in point: Scoop, which is based on Waugh’s personal experience as a journalist, is a witty take-down of sensationalist journalism. Though written in 1938, the book’s jokes and critiques resonate strongly today.

Other novels on the list include Emma and Peyton Place.

Finally, an American blogger on a site called “Never Yet Melted” notes the International Olympic Committee’s decision to drop three men-only shooting competitions in favor of those open to all so as to make gun events “more youthful, more urban” and more inclusive of women. This reminds the blogger of the final passage in Waugh’s “Scott-King’s Modern Europe” where the headmaster asks Scott-King to teach more up-to-date subjects to better prepare students for the modern world and replace his increasingly unpopular classics curriculum. Scott-King answers: 

“No, headmaster.”

“But, you know, there may be something of a crisis ahead.”

“Yes, headmaster.”

“Then what do you intend to do?”

“If you approve, headmaster, I will stay as I am here as long as any boy wants to read the classics. [Emphasis added] I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.”

“It’s a short-sighted view, Scott-King.”

“There, headmaster, with all respect, I differ from you profoundly. I think it the most long-sighted view it is possible to take.”


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