Duncan McLaren has added a new essay to his website. This is entitled “Evelyn Concluded or Ask Alastair” and is devoted exclusively to Alastair Graham and his on and off relationship with Evelyn Waugh in the 1920s and a bit of the 1930s. He uses effectively what little archival information is available about the elusive Alastair, relying heavily on Duncan Fallowell’s book How to Disappear and adding information and photos from a book by David N Thomas about Dylan Thomas’s life in New Quay.
As usual, McLaren adds comments from his previous writings and observations from his on-the-ground research in the locations he describes. In this case, he makes an extended visit to New Quay (where Graham lived out his final years in seclusion) and describes the setting as it exists today, illustrated with helpful and detailed photographs. He also offers discussions about Graham’s sister Jane, who may have contributed to the character of Cordelia in Brideshead, as well as his relations with poet Ewan Morgan (later Viscount Tredegar).
This is probably as close as we will ever get to a biography of Alastair Graham. It makes interesting and enjoyable reading for Waugh fans and may well encourage those newly introduced to McLaren’s work to spend a wet weekend going back over the other essays he has posted, as well as his book Evelyn!
While McLaren suggests this essay is “rounding out” his work, at least for the moment, one hopes that it will soon resume. It seems unlikely that he will be able to avoid having his curiosity pricked by some bit of Waviana others have overlooked or underestimated and take the time and effort to set matters straight. We look forward to the next installment.