–Duncan McLaren has added a new article to his Evelyn Waugh website relating to three of the first volumes of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh: Precocious Waughs (v.30), Essays, Articles and Reviews 1922-1934 (v.26), and A Little Learning (v.19). He is reviewing copies housed at the National Library of Scotland and offers photo clips from the contents where relevant to his discussion. He is generally impressed by the workmanship represented in the project. Here’s a sample of McLaren’s comments on the Precocious Waughs volume:
…this first volume is of special interest as it concerns Waugh’s writings when he was a child and teenager. The diary that he kept while at Lancing was largely reproduced in The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, published in 1976. But the revelation in this CWEW volume is the richness of the boyhood diaries pre-Lancing. Most of the pages include lively drawings and derision directed at unpopular teachers and fellow pupils.
As a bonus, McLaren offers a new version of Lewis Carroll’s poem the Walrus and the Carpenter that makes it even more worthwhile to read his article to the end.
And as a further bonus, unrelated to the CWEW review, McLaren has posted a brief article about Waugh’s attitude to his Scottish heritage as expressed in both his personal writings and fiction. This can be found here.
—The Tatler has an article about a new form of nostalgic entertainment booked for performances at the restaurant of the Ritz Hotel in London on Friday and Saturday evenings from 730pm. This is a jazz band (the London Dance Orchestra) that performs music redolent of the Bright Young People era, although whether the BYP gathered at the Ritz to enjoy it seems doubtful. As an example of the establishment’s clientele in the Jazz Age and after, the Tatler article offers this:
Bask in the restaurant where Evelyn Waugh’s characters from his 1940s novel Work Suspended fell in love over luncheon. […]
–The Catholic Herald asks a number of Roman Catholic writers what they think is the perfect Catholic cocktail. The first suggestion comes from Fr Michael Rennier, editor of the literary journal Dappled Things:
The Pink Gin. I like my dogma magisterial and my drinks strong. Although I’m breaking Hilaire Belloc’s hard-and-fast rule never to enjoy a drink invented after the Reformation, I dare say a Pink Gin is worth the risk. Composed of gin, bitters and a cocktail onion, this drink is positively triumphalist in its merciful embrace of both sinner and saint. (Gin itself is an alchemical miracle of the Middle Ages, and the proto-gins were largely monastic in origin.) Evelyn Waugh famously consumed it while he attempted to complete the crossword in his morning paper and the characters in his novels are constantly splashing about various clubs with them in hand. As a faithful son of Mother Church, can I do anything less than raise a glass in solidarity?
–An article by Carol Clark posted on the website Literary Hub discusses the difficulty of editing the works of Marcel Proust. Evelyn Waugh’s opinion on the question is quoted with respect one aspect of the problem:
In the case of Proust, […] editorial decisions are much more difficult to make than one might suppose. His composition is very rarely linear or chronological: most of the events described take place in a timeless or repetitive past indicated by the use of the imperfect tense. Only from time to time is an episode narrated in the past historic, indicating that it happened only once. (These alternative past tenses present a real problem to the translator.) In one paragraph the narrator can be years older than in the preceding one or, for that matter, younger. (Evelyn Waugh noticed this and facetiously complained to John Betjeman: “Well, the chap was plain barmy. He never tells you the age of the hero and on one page he is being taken to the W.C. in the Champs-Elysées by his nurse & the next page he is going to a brothel. Such a lot of nonsense” (letter, February 1948).)