This week’s roundup starts with religious and moves on to secular issues:
–August 18th is the feast day of St Helena in the western church calendar. Blogger Amy Welborn has posted an article on Waugh’s novel about the Saint for the occasion:
It was his favorite of all of his novels. Some people hate it, but I love it. When I was working as editor of the Loyola Classics series, the book was amazingly out of copyright in the US, so we were able to publish it [in 2005] with an introduction by George Weigel. I see that the copyright issue has gone another way, it seems, so the book is now published as part of a series of Waugh novels by Little, Brown. You can get copies of the Loyola edition here, and the current edition here. Some, as I said, hate it because, they say, it’s basically the type of characters you find in Vile Bodies and Handful of Dust – 1920’s British upperclass twits – plopped down in the 4th century. Well, that’s part of the reason I like it. It’s entertaining in that way…
The post also includes an excerpt from George Weigel’s introduction to the Loyola edition.
–The National Review last week published a priest’s response to what he describes as the Roman Catholic Church’s “Summer of Shame”. The article was published on 11 August, so would have been written in advance of the the report of statewide clerical misbehavior in Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of the article, Fr Benedict Kiely (ordained in 1994) makes this reference to Evelyn Waugh:
So often it is the confirmation of the ecclesiastical Peter Principle, the theory that members of a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence. Writing to the novelist Evelyn Waugh in the 1930s, the historian Hilaire Belloc described the English hierarchy as a “fog of mediocrity.” In both the U.S. and the U.K., much of the present crisis indicates that the fog has not yet cleared.
–In a letter to The Times earlier this week, a reader offered a Waugh quote relating to correspondence about depression-inducing statements in the paper:
PICK ME UP
Sir, Further to the letters about statements that have depressed your readers over the years, I’d like to offer an antidote by offering two words that lift my spirits every time I think of them. Evelyn Waugh once said that the best phrase in the English language was “cheque enclosed”.
–Another Waugh “pick me up” called the Noon Day Reviver is mentioned in the food website EatOut,com.za:
A much toned down version of a drink referenced in the diaries of the great Evelyn Waugh, who wrote about this as a fool proof cure for a hangover, is The Evelyn Waugh Noon Day Reviver. Attributed to the author himself, infused with Hendrick’s Gin and the perfect dash of ginger beer and stout beer, this tipple is a perfect blend of flavours, to revive wit and character to those with curious minds…
Method: Carefully build in the following order: gin, ginger beer and beer. Enjoy!
–Waugh was reportedly mentioned in another Times article, that one about anti-semitism, but for unexplained reasons that article was later deleted. All that remains is this Google search report:
“Antisemitism in Britain: How prejudice towards Jews grew relentlessly…” The Times–Aug 16, 2018. The caste of leaders confronted with the rise in British prejudice belonged to the decadent interwar generation satirised in works such as Evelyn Waugh’s Vile …”
I wonder if any of our readers managed to see the article before it was suppressed and might like to comment on the Waugh’reference.
–Waugh is included in the promotional material of a Cotswold hotel, the Lygon Arms, appearing in The Evening Standard’s “Escape” column. This in itself is not so surprising as is the the identities of the two other guests with whom his name was linked:
Established in the 12 century, this former coaching inn has an impressive history; its famous guests have included Charles I, Evelyn Waugh and Kylie Minogue.
–Charles Capel, reporter for The National, an Abu Dhabi paper, has contributed his selections to a series of favorite book recommendations:
I find the books that resonate with me the most are those that teach me something. Fiction or not, there’s no greater joy than finishing a book and feeling like you’ve learnt something new. All of these books have either inspired a love for, or taught me something about journalism…
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)
Certainly not the first time this has been chosen, Scoop is considered a literary rite of passage for journalists. It follows an oblivious reporter thrust out of his depth when he is sent to an unfamiliar foreign country. I read this when I first arrived in Abu Dhabi; Waugh’s dry British wit helped dull any feelings of homesickness. Based in a fictional African country of Ishmaelia, rookie reporter John Boot would rather be writing about the British countryside, but in a case of mistaken identity is sent to report on a phony war.
–The Oldie has posted Auberon Waugh’s first column written for the magazine (“Oldies rule the country!”). It appeared in 1992 and is reproduced here.