Mid-November Roundup

–The Oxford journal Cherwell reviews a current production of Hamlet at the Keble College O’Reilly Theatre. The review opens with a quote from Evelyn Waugh:

“Would you not see a hundred Hamlets pottering about Broad Street?” Evelyn Waugh’s question is pertinent today: of course Oxford’s the best place to put on Hamlet, since where, outside Elsinore and Wittenberg, will you find so many self-questioning, introspective and pretty pretentious students in close proximity? It’s surprising then that Cosmic Arts’ new production at the Keble O’Reilly Theatre is Oxford’s first big one for several years. Maybe it’s because contest over theatre’s best lead role is so fierce: apparently over 100 auditioned to play the Dane.

Waugh occasionally wrote for Cherwell in his student days. But the quote is taken from a 1924 editorial in Isis, another Oxford student publication. Waugh was commenting on a current production of Hamlet by the OUDS. “Wittenberg and Oxford”, CWEW, v. 26, pp. 35-37. It is also reprinted in EAR.

–Another Oxford student publication was quoted recently in The Oldie magazine’s website. This was from an interview of Auberon Waugh by The Oldie’s current editor Harry Mount. Here’s the opening of the article:

Auberon Waugh would have turned 80 on November 17. In 1991, he was interviewed by a 19-year-old Harry Mount for The Word, an Oxford University newspaper.

–The religious weblog Words on Fire has posted an article entitled “On being protected: What I learned from Evelyn Waugh’s Mr. Crouchback.” The discussion in the article relates to the father of Guy Crouchback and his thoughts in the novel Men at War on the departure of his grandson Tony (Guy’s cousin) before his capture during the Fall of France. The article can be viewed at this link.

–Max Saunders, CWEW editor of Men at War and the other novels in Waugh’s war trilogy has posted an article on the OUPblog. This is about a book series published by Kegan Paul in the 1920-30s called To-Day and To-Morrow  in which they:

…published over 100 volumes, […] The books were highly diverse. They covered technological subjects – aviation, wireless, automation, politics, the state, the family and sexuality. Others focused on culture and everyday life topics – theatre, cinema, the press, language, clothes, food, drink, leisure, and sleep.[…]

A publishing sensation until the Depression hit, the series attracted leading writers – Vernon Lee, Robert Graves, Vera Brittain, the scientist J. D. Bernal, Hugh MacDiarmid, critic Bonamy Dobrée, philosopher C. E. M. Joad, novelist and biographer André Maurois – and many more. Other major modernist authors knew them. Joyce read twelve of the books. T. S. Eliot reviewed some, saying: “we are able to peer into the future by means of that brilliant series of little books called To-day and To-morrow.” Virginia Woolf’s husband Leonard reviewed at least eight. Evelyn Waugh tried to write one, called Noah, or the Future of Intoxication, but it was rejected.

Selina Hastings (p. 146) describes the Kegan Paul series as a “collection of light-hearted essays […] of which the most the most notable to date had been Robert Graves’s Lars Porsena, or the Future of Swearing” whose title inspired that proposed by Waugh.

–The Daily Mail runs a story about advice for naming babies:

One of the country’s leading baby clothing firms is encouraging parents-to-be to break with tradition by choosing a gender neutral name for their newborns. JoJo Maman Bébé – which is based in Newport, Wales, and has more than 90 stores across the UK – has come up with 18 gender neutral baby names it thinks would be perfect for infants.

Among the recommended gender neutral names is this:

EVELYN – The name Evelyn started out as a predominantly male name, with the most famous being writer Evelyn Waugh. Despite it being much more common as a female name nowadays, we love the vintage feel of it for either gender. Evelyn is of Old English origin and means ‘desired’, making it perfect for your little one.

–The French newspaper Présent has posted a review of the recently published translation of Waugh’s war diaries. This is entitled le Journal de guerre. See previous post. The review is behind a paywall but any Francophone reader having access to it is invited to describe it by posting a comment below.

–Finally, an art exhibit will open next week in London that may be of interest to our readers. Here’s an excerpt from the gallery’s announcement:

‘Divine People: The Art of Ambrose McEvoy’ runs 26th November 2019 – 24th January 2020. Philip Mould & Company will be holding a major retrospective of the work of Ambrose McEvoy ARA (1877 -1927) – the effervescent society portraitist whom art history had all but forgotten. this is first major exhibition of the artist’s work in almost fifty years and comprises over 40 works loaned by major public institutions and British private collections. ‘Divine People: The Art of Ambrose McEvoy’ will showcase some of the most daring and progressive portraits from the artist’s pioneering oeuvre. McEvoy’s subjects – often dramatically illuminated by his novel use of coloured light bulbs – have been generally overlooked in the broader history of 20th century British art, his paintings overshadowed by that of his close friend and contemporary at the Slade, Augustus John. Whereas John remains a household name today, McEvoy has been largely forgotten despite having painted such notable figures as Winston Churchill, Lady Diana Cooper, The Hon. Lois Sturt and Prime Minister James Ramsay Macdonald.

Details of the exhibit can be found at this link. There is a brief video within the gallery’s linked announcement in which the owner Philip Mould displays and explains the artist’s 1915 portrait of Diana Cooper, which she had dubbed “Call to Orgy”.

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