Spanish Versions of Waugh Recommended

An essay has been posted on the books blog of the Madrid-based free circulation newspaper called 20 Minutos. The story has been picked up by other Spanish language publications, including at least one in Mexico. This is by bookseller and blogger “Regina Ex Libris” who begins with an introductory essay on Waugh:

It is 52 years since the death of Evelyn Waugh, another holy patron of my bookshop and one of the titans of the Anglo-Saxon letters of the XXth century. Scarcely admired as a human being but revered as a writer and as a ruthless chronicler of the frivolous interwar generation, I always thought of him as a flapper trapped in the body of a Catholic convert, grumpy, arrogant, misogynist and snob … , but with a portentous talent for literature–some one tormented by a fierce internal struggle and in perpetual war standing against the world that imploded into literary artifacts laden with venom, irony and truth. Hence, the ‘Waugh brand’ is displayed in comic and crazy novels, with room for disenchantment and criticism, but, yes, perversely subtle. I love his work, his sense of humor, his scathing lucidity and that glorious forked tongue with which he describes those environments which he manages like a fish in water: the aristocracy with all its pomp, diplomatic circles and corruption, the army and war conflicts, university phlegm and the press.

She goes on to recommend six of Waugh’s books by their Spanish titles, offering brief opinionated explanations in each case: Retorno a Brideshead, Noticias bomba! (Scoop), Izad mas banderas (Put out more flags), Un puñado de polvo (A Handful of Dust), Merienda de negros (Black Mischief) and Cuentos completos (Complete Stories). As an example, here’s her description for Black Mischief :

Destructive colonial farce that attacks the wild savages of the jungle like those of modern cities, and in which unforgettably comic characters abound, such as the inept and petulant English ambassador or the two ladies who come to observe the treatment given to the animals in that “barbarian” country. In it Seth, the new emperor of Azania, “tyrant of the seas and  graduate of Oxford,” offers his former classmate Basil Seal – insolent, sophisticated and amoral, a perfect guarantee against stability – the position of “minister of modernization” of his African country. From there, the most crazy innovations are undertaken, provoking endless tribal and diplomatic intrigues that lead to anarchy and chaos, and a truly cannibal feast absolutely ruthless, hilarious and truthful.

The book’s Spanish title translates as “Black Snack”. Translation by Google with minor edits.

This entry was posted in A Handful of Dust, Black Mischief, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, Put Out More Flags, Scoop, Short Stories and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.