Rex Mottram and Scott-King Reconsidered

In blogpost on the religious website Patheos, Tod Worner undertakes a review of the career of Rex Mottram and offers the results of his project in this conclusion:

As I revisited Brideshead Revisited and the story of Rex Mottram, I began to consider anew just what Evelyn Waugh was doing. At one point, I was convinced Rex Mottram was a buffoon, a fool, a caricature who offered levity amidst the deeper plot of the novel. But now, more than ever, I think Waugh intended Mottram to serve as a warning. This, he seems to say, is who we might become if we let this ghastly age mold and shape us. We too could risk being insincere converts. …. If we are not careful, we risk becoming absolutely modern.

At the conclusion of a lesser known, but nonetheless brilliant, story by Evelyn Waugh, Scott-King’s Modern Europe, a professor of classics, having seen the dangers of unbridled modernity, rebuffs the headmaster’s canard that “parents are not interested in producing the ‘complete man’ any more”. The headmaster goes on saying that one cannot blame parents for wanting to “qualify their boys for jobs in the modern world.” Can you? Emphatically, Professor Scott-King says, “Oh yes. I can and do…I think it would be very wicked indeed to do anything to fit a boy for the modern world.” Indeed.

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