Roundup: Foreign Press

–In the German paper Die Welt, there is a short review of Brideshead Revisited (in German Wiedersehen mit Brideshead) by Denis Schenk. After quoting from the novel how Charles and Sebastian come to be acquainted, the article continues:

There is much to learn from this book – not just how to become a snob. Also, how to describe the downfall of a world empire and the slow damning of a social stratum that held power for more than a thousand years. First and foremost, how to cope with the experience of loss, of broken friendships, extinguished love, lost faith and faded youth – with life as an adult, then. Charles Ryder falls in love with Sebastian as a student at Oxford and at Brideshead Castle with his androgynous sister Julia, but almost all the more Charles falls in love with the lifestyle and outlook of these vile [“spleenigen”] Catholic noblemen, who know a bottle of Château Peyraguey and strawberries as a perfect combination for a picnic, but not where it could be in a society that no longer needs it.  “Brideshead Revisited” was created during the Second World War and looks back on the twenties, the downfall of a world of yesterday, yes, on the expulsion from paradise. […] Can you feel nostalgia for a time you have never experienced? Apparently, because Brideshead Revisited has become the unrequited model of countless country house novels, films and TV series all the way to “Downton Abbey”.

–The Italian language Roman Catholic online journal Radio Spada has a recent article about the British factionalism during Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. British Catholics (with the notable exception of Graham Greene) largely supported Franco’s Nationalists because of Republican opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. The article is by Luca Fumagalli. He writes that, in the UK:

Among the most active “papist” polemicists in support of the Francoist cause was the journalist Douglas Francis Jerrold, a supporter of Italian fascism and a prominent member of the “Friends of National Spain” committee. Jerrold had been personally involved in the plans that would lead to the events of July 1936, when two British intelligence agents, his friend Hugh Pollard and Captain Cecil Bebb, transported Franco by air from the Canary Islands to Morocco, thus kicking off the coup d’etat.

Waugh himself went no further than remarking that the Nationalists were preferable to the Republicans. As Fumagalli puts it:

There was also Evelyn Waugh, although his enthusiasm for Franco was rather limited (the opening of credit towards Mussolini had already alienated the sympathies of many writer  friends, so it was useless to go too far) [… His] future sister-in-law, Miss Gabriel Herbert, on the other hand, represented the enthusiasm for the Francoist crusade that infected many young people of the time: she left for Spain and lent her help to the nationalists working on ambulances (like the Cordelia in Brideshead Revisited).

–The Spanish language Diario Córdoba has a story featuring Waugh scholar and novelist Carlos Villar Flor. It opens with this:

Villar Flor is a professor of English literature at the University of La Rioja and director of the literary magazine Fábula. He is also a novelist, short story writer, poet and translator (in this regard he highlights his translation of the trilogy Sword of Honor, by Evelyn Waugh). His last published book is his fourth novel. It is entitled Discover Why I Kill You (Descubre por qué te mato) and it is very different from the previous ones. In this case, it is essentially a crime novel. The plot begins with a death threat: a stranger tells the protagonist that he is going to kill him, that he will do it before a month goes by and that his only chance of saving himself is to discover why he wants to kill him

The article goes on to describe the novel (which is discussed in previous posts) in greater detail and concludes:

With a fluid style, Discover Why I Kill You has, in addition to mystery and surprises, other interesting ingredients. There is humor. It has references to literary works. Also to current issues, with a critical approach, such as job insecurity, the influence of the media and the presumption of innocence in trials. It contains reflections on death. In addition, it deals with another issue of concern: the vulnerability of those who carry out public work before a large and anonymous audience.

The translations are by Google with a few edits.



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