Waugh in Scandinavia (More)

A Swedish newspaper has printed a review of a new translation of A Handful of Dust into Swedish (En Handfull Stoft) published by Modernista. The article is by Crister Enander and appears in the Helsingfors Dagblad. After a brief summary of Waugh’s life, stressing his fight against melancholy bolstered by his rich life and his religion, Enander describes A Handful of Dust as one of his “most hilarious novels with a deceptively light-hearted setting. The external action may be seen as a parody of infidelity marked by the genre’s charming banality.” After summarizing the plot, he compares Waugh’s realism to that of Balzac in his Human Comedy series:

It is more truthful to say that Evelyn Waugh’s keen eye and ability to see through the failings of others’ inner lives in a society that started to lose its moral moorings impels him to write novels that rip up the characters with their roots and reveal the innermost secrets … The characters’ lives are portrayed more authentically than perhaps he himself is fully aware. 

The article concludes with the thought (which is also reflected in the title and introduction) that in this novel “literature triumphs over contempt and chronic melancholy.” 

Another article has appeared in the Norwegian press about the recent translation of the 1959 revised edition of Brideshead Revisited. See earlier posts. This is published in the newspaper Dagbladet and is written by Fredrik Wandrup. He first mentions Decline and Fall which is not available in Norwegian but he recalls the 1968 film adaptation that played there and that he thought hilarious. He also thinks Scoop should be required reading for all journalism students. The article continues:

“Brideshead Revisited” is not satirical in the same manner as these precursors. … The new translation of Johanne Fronth-Nygren is super. She has also written a rich and interesting epilogue. “For me Brideshead both in form and content stands out as a sparkling illustration of our human urge to create order, our ultimately vain attempt to gain control over their own and others’ lives.” She has also provided the book with an appendix explaining expressions and phrases from the text … Waugh was known for his biting irony and self-destructive lifestyle, and he was hardly easy to impress. After a visit to Oslo in 1947, he compared Frognerparken to Hiroshima and argued that the nation smelled of herring. But Norwegian TV viewers loved Brideshead. It was shown three times on NRK and once on TV3.

The translations are by Google Translate and are a bit rough in patches. Comments would be appreciated.


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