Waugh’s Bazaar

The current issue of Harper’s Bazaar (May 2017) has an article by Alex Preston based on the magazine’s¬†archives that should be of interest:

Alex Preston explores the Bazaar archives in our 150th-anniversary year, to discover a story of love, loss and betrayal that was played out in the pages of the magazine in the 1930s between Evelyn Waugh, his wife and her lover. All three were contributors to Bazaar, and despite the deep unhappiness caused by the end of Waugh’s marriage, his extraordinary talent blossomed in this magazine: perhaps most notably with his series entitled ‘A Flat in London’, which was subsequently published (with a darker ending) as A Handful of Dust, that great masterpiece of 20th-century fiction.

Waugh recycled his short story “The Man Who Liked Dickens” (published in late 1933 and collected in Complete Short Stories) as the ending of A Handful of Dust,¬†which was written later. Because Waugh had sold¬†exclusive magazine rights¬†for that¬†short story, he could not use that text for the ending of Bazaar’s¬†serialized version of the novel. So he wrote a substitute ending in which Tony Last remains in London and has a very satisfactory revenge. The story told in¬†the¬†serial’s¬†ending is related to¬†the¬†title (“A Flat in London”) which Waugh explains was chosen by the magazine. ¬†In some¬†respects it is a more satisfactory¬†ending (at least for readers of the magazine if not literary critics) and arguably fits better with the plot of the novel. The serial “A Flat in London”¬†appeared in both the US and UK editions of Harper’s Bazaar between June-October 1934.

When he published a revised version of the book in 1964, Waugh¬†included the Bazaar¬†serial ending as an “alternative” and deemed it “a curiosity.” Waugh claims in the¬†preface to that edition that, when he wrote the novel a year after the story was published, the novel was “on the theme of the betrayed romantic, affording an explanation of my hero’s presence in the South American bush.” That was also the briefly stated premise for the hero’s signing on to a South American expedition¬†in “The Man Who Liked Dickens.”¬†

Preston’s¬†article appears in the UK edition of Harper’s Bazaar but may not be included in the US edition. Perhaps some of our UK readers who have access to the article might wish to comment on its contents. It would, for example, be interesting to know what contributions were made to the magazine by Evelyn Gardner and John Heygate.

UPDATE (4 April 2017): The alternative ending to A Handful of Dust is also included in the short story collection Mr Loveday’s Little Outing and Other Sad Stories¬†(London,¬†1936) where it has the title “By Special Request.” There is also a brief introduction explaining that it was used to replace the final chapters of the novel in the serialized version. It is headed Chapter Five¬†which has the title “The Next Winter.” It also appears in this form in The Complete Short Stories (London, 1998), with the Roman numeral “I” replacing “Chapter Five.” It is not included in the US collection of short stories¬†entitled Tactical Exercise¬†(Boston, 1954), but is included in the most recent version of the US collection entitled The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh (New York, 2012)¬†in a slightly different format from the 1998 UK collection.

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