Waugh and International Law

Dr Fernando Gomez Herrero from the University of Birmingham delivered a paper at a London conference on Languages Memory based on Evelyn Waugh’s description of his attendance at an academic conference in Scott King’s Modern Europe. The paper was entitled ‘About Law and Literature; Or Evelyn Waugh attends the Pax Romana Commemorations in honour of Francisco de Vitoria in Spain in 1946′. Dr Gomez Herrero explains his paper in a posting on the University of Brmingham’s website:

This presentation provided syntheses of Waugh’s satirical novella Scott-King’s Modern Europe (1947), against his diary entries and elements of his biographical writing, engaging with Vitoria, but also the city of Salamanca, the International Congress of Pax Romana, the Franco Regime in early moments of the Cold War. “Vitoria” is short name for international-law initiatives, war-peace mediations, ideal of imperial self-restraint, worrisome (post-) colonial legacies, Euro-American relations, Catholicism and Protestantism, etc. Waugh’s middlebrow writing in the humorous vein is a peculiar English version of Vitoria. I look into how he did it and the possibly why. He did not know the “Neutralian lingo” and did not think much about a lot of things. Orwell already said something meaningful about this supreme art and lightness of being. I look into Waugh’s satirical humour critically. I gave vignettes…. My presentation looked into the mechanics of satire, how satire works, how laughter is engaged, whether it wins over the reader, or does not. Scott King’s Modern Europe is slapstick comedy, a crazy romp against any type of pomp and ceremony: think Marx Brothers, add 19th-Century Spanish costumbrista writer, Mariano Jose de Larra, even touches of Berlanga’s famous film, and audacious comedy, Bienvenido Mister Marshall  (1953)…

Waugh’s novella is also collected in his Complete Short Stories. The Orwell reference probably relates to his review of Waugh’s novella.

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