Waugh in the Ratings

Several sites and publications have recently issued rankings on Waugh and his works. The interactive internet site Ranker is running a survey for the best Roman Catholic writer. Currently Waugh is #12 preceded by Allen Tate and followed by Graham Greene. The #1 pick is Thomas Aquinas.This selection is still open for those who want to participate.

According to WorldCat, the internet book catalogue, Brideshead Revisited is among the top books of the 20th Century based on number of copies held in libraries. It does not give the rankings by number but Brideshead is just ahead of Watership Down and a few behind The Power and the Glory. The “top” book is the Lord of the Rings trilogy but they do not explain how they deal with mulitiple volume works.

The US-based National Great Books Curriculum includes Evelyn Waugh on their core author list with 185 other writers. This is based on a survey of the Academic Community, but it appears that the community may consist of 6 community colleges scattered around the country.

The British Council in India has included Decline and Fall among five recommended satires. Others include Animal Farm and The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Gentlemen’s Journal has selected the 5 best books to read on a long-haul airplane journey. One of the choices is a collection of Waugh’s travel writings:

Waugh Abroad, Evelyn Waugh
If you’re taking to the skies for personal travel rather than anything business related, this is the book for you. As a documentation of a series of travel journals kept by Waugh, the book is full of wit and hilarity and will leave you with a thirst for travel – potentially even inspiring you to keep a journal of your own.

This selection is edited by Nicholas Shakespeare who also wrote an introduction. It is published in the Everyman’s Library edition in 2003. It differs from Waugh’s own selection in that it contains material from The Holy Places and Tourist in Africa that was not available when his volume, entitled When the Going Was Goodwas published in 1946. Waugh Abroad also contains excerpts from Robbery Under Law (1939) which Waugh chose to exclude from his selection.

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