Waugh’s Signature, Favorite Dublin Pub, Lost in Translation, Etc.

–Duncan McLaren has posted a short note on Waugh’s change in his signature at an early stage in his career. This is posted on his website under WAUGH BITES. McLaren is able to triangulate that change in the early 1930’s by comparing signatures in signed book copies of the period, examples of which are posted. I have always thought that the “E” in the new style looks suspiciously like a handwritten pound sign–if you leave off the top horizontal bar. Probably not intended, as Waugh was not exactly rolling in money at the time, but was doing well for a newly minted novelist.

–An Irish “publog” called Publin has reposted a listing of Dublin public houses visited by James Joyce and described in his novel Ulysses. These are included in an annual pubcrawl on what is called “Bloomsday” based on Joyce’s novel. Among the listed venues is this one:

The Bailey pub, formerly The Maltings, had always been a hub of literary and political activity. Prior to John Ryan’s acquiring it, it had welcomed international artists such as Evelyn Waugh, John Betjeman, and Charles Chaplin, as well as being popular with local figures like Oliver St. John Gogarty, Pádraig Colum and Thomas Kettle. […] Under John Ryan’s direction the pub again became fertile ground for artists and writers in the 1950s and 60s. Ryan maintained close relationships with all of the significant figures of this period, such as Patrick Kavanagh, Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Brian O’Nolan and J. P. Donleavy, many of whom he also supported financially.

It was in this context that Bloomsday, a celebration of Joyce’s Ulysses, first emerged. Ryan arranged for two horse drawn carriages to take participants from the Martello Tower in Sandycove, where the novel begins, across the city, following in the footsteps of Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus. Present were Kavanagh and O’Nolan, as well as the architect Michael Scott, critic Anthony Cronin and Joyce’s cousin Tom Joyce. As they progressed through their journey the cortege stopped frequently at pubs and by the time they reached the city centre, exhausted and inebriated, they abandoned the expedition for welcoming warmth of The Bailey.

No details of Waugh’s visit(s) to this establishment are provided. He didn’t spend a lot of time in Dublin but did stop there on his way to visit his Anglo-Irish friends in their country houses and actually shopped around the outreaches of the city looking for a place to live after the war. It seems unlikely that he would choose this pub for its Joycean associations since Joyce was not a writer Waugh admired, but it does seem to have been widely accepted by others in the trade so that might explain his visit(s).

BBC Radio 4 has reposted a 2007 broadcast of its books interview program A Good Read. The panel includes poet/critic Andrew Motion and investigative journalist Roger Cook and is presented by Sue MacGregor. The Waugh novel discussed is Scoop and that discussion comes at the beginning of the 30-minute program.  It is available on the internet via BBC iPlayer.

–A review of Brideshead Revisited is posted in Crisis Magazine, a digital religious journal maintained by Roman Catholic lay people. The review, entitled Stubborn Roots,  warns, inter alia,  that Brideshead is not an easy read and is not recommended for children. Among its many challenges is this:

A common way to misunderstand Brideshead Revisited is as an implicit condemnation of the Catholic faith, of the Catholic life, or at least the Catholic belief in the reality of evil and original sin. It may seem that every single Catholic character is unfulfilled directly because of a faith that thwarts love and happiness at every turn […] Almost everyone ends up being unhappy, from Rex Mottram to Hooper, and Catholic to non-Catholic. It is not Catholicism that is to blame, but aristocratic England, plebian England, individual vice, family pride, you, me, and fallen human nature. […]

–A blogger and fan of the film Lost in Translation, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, has posted an essay discussing why she still finds the film fascinating 15 years after its original release. The blogger, Mairead Small Staid, now age 30, makes several literary references, especially to JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, but also recalls this very funny line from the film:

“And the worst part was,” Franny tells her brother Zooey, “I knew what a bore I was being, I knew how I was depressing people, or even hurting their feelings—but I just couldn’t stop! I just could not stop picking.” Charlotte [the young female lead character played  by Scarlett Johannsen], too, can’t stop picking, but when she tries to find an ally in her clueless husband, to make light of her ill-tempered state—“Evelyn Waugh was a man,” she confides as if sharing a gleeful secret—she’s met with admonishment. “Not everybody went to Yale,” her husband scolds.

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