Waugh scholar Irina Kabanova has written an article entitled “Evelyn Waugh and the USA”. This was published in December 2016 in the Russian language journal Literatura Dvukh Amerik (Literature of the Two Americas). It is now available online at this link. The English language abstract is published below:
Abstract: Evelyn Waugh’s critical reputation has soared today to that of the foremost British novelist of the XX century. Naturally he had to deal with one of the shaping factors of English XX-century culture, American influence. Waugh’s stance on the USA comes under scrutiny: the diaries and letters are used to recreate biographical context; American visits’ of 1946-1950 description is based on biographical and critical accounts. Simultaneously the American characters from the early travel writings and the novels are analyzed. «The Loved One» gets special attention as Waugh’s single fiction set in the USA, and among non-fiction works – the article «The American Epoch in the Catholic Church». Waugh’s general outlook (his vision of modernity as the age of decline of traditional values, absurd and chaos, loss of meaning, his political conservatism and misanthropy) is shown to predicate his negative attitude to the US as the triumph of democratic principle, which Waugh famously denounced as “the age of common man”. The evolution of Waugh’s opinions on the USA is traced from the slightly xenophobic prejudice, common in his circles, through a series of business interactions with American publishers and Waugh’s growing financial dependence on the US royalties, to his most anti-American work, «The Loved One», and somewhat unexpected repentance of its critique in the panegyric of the article, where he proclaimed America the future leader of the Catholic Church. That was Waugh’s form of acknowledgement of the post-1945 Pax Americana.
Kabanova teaches at the N G Chernyshevsky State University in Saratov, Russia. She presented a paper (“Sovereign Power in Waugh’s Edmund Campion and Helena”) at the Evelyn Waugh Centenary Conference at Hertford College, Oxford in 2003 that is available in A Handful of Mischief.