Waugh and the Jellyfish

A recent travel guide includes a reference to Waugh’s fortuitous encounter with a jellyfish off the coast of Wales in 1925, where its intervention aborted Waugh’s attempted suicide. This guide is entitled Britain by the Book and is written by academic Oliver Tearle who teaches English Literature at the University of Loughborough. The book is described in an Amazon reader’s review as:

…a ‘curious tour of our literary landscape’ each short chapter consisting of a two or three pages, each one offering interesting fragments of history involving various classic authors and poets … some very famous and some not so. This book starts at John ‘O Groats and ends up at Cornwall, passing through an abundance of villages and small towns along the way. Numerous fascinating facts and little known curiosities are divulged to the reader through the excellent writing of Oliver Tearle.

Waugh’s adventure is cited in the publisher’s promotional material for the book:

Why did a jellyfish persuade Evelyn Waugh to abandon his suicide attempt in North Wales?

The book apparently attempts to answer that question. Waugh describes his rescue by jellyfish at the conclusion of his autobiography A Little Learning.  It also contributed to a description of the faked suicide of Capt Grimes in Decline and Fall. No jellyfish was needed to save Capt Grimes, however, whose suicide was never intended to suceed.

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