Midwinter Roundup: Worldwide Waugh

Evelyn Waugh is mentioned in two recent German newspaper articles:

In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Andrea Diener writes a column noting the domination by women of the Guardian’s fiction bestseller list–only one man made the list: Haruki Murakami at #6. She then tracks back to how Englishwomen struggled to gain this position, mentioning that several major 19th century women writers used male pen names–e.g., the Brontes and Mary Ann Evans. She closes with this:

All that remains is to thank the brave authors who paved the way. Jane Austen, for example, who published as “A lady” and thus left no doubt about her gender. And Evelyn Waugh, who was actually named Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh and could have had it easier. Instead, he married a woman named Evelyn, they called the couple “He-Evelyn and She-Evelyn” and despite everything, it made a great author out of him.

In the Allgemeine Zeitung published in Mainz, Marianne Hoffmann reviews the diaries of actor Richard Burton. These covered the years 1965-71 when he was married to actress Elizabeth Taylor. The article concludes with this:

Everywhere he had houses, he set up a library. Elisabeth Taylor would have liked to order them by color, he would have it by authors. “That’s not wallpaper”, as he commented.  …  His great love is the crime novel. Authors such as Ross Macdonald, Lou Archer, Ian Fleming, Rex Stout and Evelyn Waugh. The latter, a writer whose novels “A handful of dust”, “Scoop”, “Decline and Fall” were translated into all languages. A very entertaining evening ends with a little reading from “Decline and Fall”.

In the weblog En Compostela, blogger Angel Ruiz summarizes in Spanish the recent article by Robert Murray Davis cited in a previous post. This relates to Waugh’s practice of revising his works. The blogger also offers this personal comment about Brideshead Revisited:

What still seems fascinating to me is to see to what extent it represents much more without being allegorical in the strict sense. Another impressive thing is that it seems to me that in all the characters I see something of myself.

Back in the UK, The Times mentions Waugh in a review by Laura Freeman of a new book by Laura Shapiro: What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories. One of these is Rosa Lewis, proprietress of the Cavendish Hotel and cook as well as (possibly) lover of Edward VII;

She was an Eliza Doolittle figure who never lost her cockney accent, called jeroboams “cherrybums” and wheeled vegetables back from the market in her own barrow. She inspired the TV series The Duchess of Duke Street and was sent up by Evelyn Waugh as the garrulous Lottie Crump, the owner of Shepheard’s Hotel in Vile Bodies.

Finally, in the USA, Waugh is mentioned in Steve Sailer’s weblog Vdare. Although this site is normally devoted to immigration topics, Sailer in his latest post addresses the current discussion of foreign meddling in US politics. He opens with this:

We hear a lot about foreign meddling via propaganda these days, so it’s worth looking at historical examples that are now well documented. The British propaganda effort from 1939 onward was often satirized (Winston Smith in 1984 is basically George Orwell laboring for the BBC). In Evelyn Waugh’s 1942 book Put Out More Flags, a novel set during the “Phony War” of late 1939-1940 (that suddenly became very real in the spring of 1940), the pacifist aesthete writer Ambrose Silk goes to visit his old publisher, who is now working on propaganda at the Ministry of Information. He is told:

“You might write a book for us then. I’m getting out a very nice little series on ‘What We Are Fighting For.’ I’ve signed up a retired admiral, a Church of England curate, an unemployed docker, a Negro solicitor from the Gold Coast, and a nose-and-throat specialist from Harley Street. The original idea was to have a symposium in one volume, but I’ve had to enlarge the idea a little. All our authors had such very different ideas it might have a little confusing.”

The translations are by Google with minor edits.


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