Review of Auberon Waugh Autobiography Posted

Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture has posted on the internet a 1998 review of Auberon Waugh’s autobiography Will This Do? The magazine is a publication of the Rockford Institute, a think tank promoting the views of the “paleoconservative,” as opposed to the “neoconservative,” movement. The review appears in an article entitled “Waugh After Waugh” by Andrei Navrozov. The review was written before Auberon’s death but makes several points that are equally valid today. For example:

With the feigned naivete that is another trademark of Waugh’s journalism, this book is divided into two sections, some 200 pages for “Youth” and a mere 80 pages for “Maturity.” It does not surprise me in the least that the first section, more classically “autobiographical” in that it covers Waugh’s relationship with his father and the many branches of a becomingly complex family tree, is actually quite dull. This is because, deep down, Waugh does not fully appreciate his own uniqueness and cannot entirely accept his role in the modern world as the great progenitor he is, rather than a mere descendant of a world that is no more. Bron Waugh modest?! In this sense he is excruciatingly so, to the detriment of his writing. He simply cannot write—not with a straight face, at any rate—in a genre that he has not himself at least in part invented. Perhaps for this very reason, though it may also be just so much perverse coquetry, he is very firm about dissuading us from reading any of his five published novels. The second, ridiculously brief, section where he finally comes into his own as England’s favorite venomous viper is itself worth the price of the book…

The article suggests that the book is still in print in the Carroll and Graf edition. Amazon, however, is selling only second-hand copies, but those are available at reasonable prices. See above link.

UPDATE (6 June 2017): Thanks to David Lull for confirming that Andrei Navrozov is the author of the original review published in 1998.

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