Three Generations of Waughs in The Oldie

Various Waughs (and their associates) are scattered throughout the pages of this month’s issue of The Oldie. The leading feature article by Alan Thomas is about the Bright Young People and opens with a reference to Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies:

The Bright Young People – renamed Bright Young Things in the 2003 film version of Evelyn Waugh’s 1930 novel, Vile Bodies – first came to prominence thanks to a speeding offence. On 21st May 1924, the Honourable Lois Sturt, the actress daughter of Lord Alington, was caught speeding around the Outer Circle of Regent’s Park during a motorised treasure hunt. The 23-year-old lover of Reggie Pembroke (aka the Earl of Pembroke), Lois shot through a police control point at 51mph. When signalled to stop, she reduced speed slightly but then roared off again. The police caught up with her at London Zoo at the end of the race – in which she won third prize – and charged her with dangerous driving and failing to stop at the request of a police constable.

The remainder of that article is behind a paywall but Waugh may reappear in later sections.

Evelyn Waugh’s biographer Selina Hastings reviews the biography of his friend Anthony Powell by Hilary Spurling.  The review consists mostly of a summary of Powell’s life which suffers from several oversimplicifications.  For example, it suggests that Waugh met Powell while they were both studying at the Holborn Polytechnic after coming down from Oxford.  As Waugh’s biographer, Hastings would know that they both met as undergraduates at Oxford in the Hypocrites Club (Hastings, Evelyn Waugh: A Biography, pp. 91 ff.), and Powell mentions being invited to “offal dinners” in Waugh’s rooms at Hertford College.  They reconnected in London shortly after AP started work at Duckworth’s and later met by chance at the Polytechnic where each had signed up for a course without telling the other. Hastings also describes how Powell’s life was affected by another Waugh, Evelyn’s son Auberon:

[Powell’s] journalistic positions ended explosively: Tony was sacked by Punch, and he left the Telegraph in a rage after reading in the book pages a derisory review of his work by Auberon Waugh.

In this same issue, another of Evelyn Waugh’s biographers, Michael Barber (Brief Lives: Evelyn Waugh (2013)), reviews John Le CarrĂ©’s latest George Smiley novel and the editor of his letters Mark Amory reviews a book about Edward Lear. Finally one of his grandchildren, Sophia Waugh (daughter of Auberon), is listed as a regular contributor to the magazine.

UPDATE (7 October 2017): While it’s not in The Oldie, it has been reported that Nicholas Shakespeare, who wrote and directed  the three-part BBC Arena series on Evelyn Waugh, has reviewed the Powell biography in the Daily Telegraph. Powell was interviewed in two of the episodes.

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