Waugh Short Stories in German Translation

A collection of 15 Waugh short stories has been published in German as Ausflug ins wirkliche Leben (Trip to Real Life). The book, reviewed by Diana Wieser, is a recent paperback reprint of the 2013 edition, both published by Diogenes Verlag in Zurich. There are several translators credited. The review appears on a website called SL Leselust. Here are some translated excerpts:

Often copied, never bested: English eccentricity – who does not love him? Author Evelyn Waugh is the uncrowned master of this supreme discipline. No one else knows how to pack nasty intrigues, great attitudes and the strange pairings of the English upperclass in such unerring punchlines. Waugh is a brilliant observer. …

Between tea dance and tennis tournament the world is not in order. The British upperclass has its own problems in the 20s to 50s. In the elite boarding school, peers test themselves in power games, on an East African colonial island, seven bachelors compete for the daughter of an oil magnate, the only unmarried white man far and wide. A cuckholded husband is looking for the big adventure in the Amazon…Waugh finds a big favor in lunatics of all kinds, be it in the sanatorium or in the film business, be it war-traumatized ex-soldiers or megalomaniac lap-dogs. Many stories have a serious background, for example through the theme of the two world wars. This presents Waugh wrapped in a “clotted cream” of irony, acumen and linguistic skill. Behind the force of humor are subtle messages. Not infrequently, the conclusion remains open or ambiguous. The beginning is invariably brilliant…

As can be seen from the examples, interpersonal relationships and their inherent tragedy form an essential theme in the prose of the author. There are many women who are smarter, cunning, and more sexually active than their husbands. …. His first marriage to Evelyn (!) Gardner ended due to the many flings of his wife, who had already been engaged nine times before their marriage and in the 20s shared a flat with a girlfriend founded. At that time a scandal that even landed in the press.But what sets Waugh’s great class apart is that he does not take a bitter perspective on relationship histories by attributing victimhood. …

Evelyn Waugh is more relevant than ever. His stories have lost nothing of humor and sophistication. On the contrary, reading them today is even more fun! Simply because they are sometimes politically incorrect–in a witty, nonchalant way. Who else could report on a future with euthanasia tourism, if not Waugh? Whether homosexuality, the loss of virginity or meek serial killer – as usual black-humored Evelyn Waugh ventures on every subject. It is not for nothing that TC Boyle, one of the modern grandmasters of bitter bad tops, calls him a role model.

Conclusion: Buy! Read! Have a good time!

The translation of the review is by Google with minor edits.

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