Winter Evelyn Waugh Studies

The Winter 2018 issue (No. 49.3) of Evelyn Waugh Studies has been published. The contents are described below. A copy is posted on the EW Society website:


Jacqueline Condon, “The Mystery of Grace: Brideshead Revisited as a Chestertonian Detective Story”

IntroductionG. K. Chesterton, famous both as a Catholic apologist and a mystery writer, proposed that, “The Ideal Detective Story…need not be superficial. In theory, though not commonly in practice, it is possible to write a subtle and creative novel, of deep philosophy and delicate psychology, and yet cast it in the form of a sensational shocker” (“The Ideal Detective Story” 178). While Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece Brideshead Revisited is hardly a penny dreadful of cloak and dagger intrigue, this paper will contend that it nevertheless answers Chesterton’s challenge by drawing on the tropes of detective fiction and applying them to serious moral and theological purposes. In particular, Waugh is responding to Chesterton’s metaphor of the Catholic Church as a merciful “divine detective” hunting down sinners in order to save them. The novel’s exemplars of staunch Catholicism, Lady Marchmain and Bridey, attempt to take on the role of investigators in order to uphold the family’s Catholic identity. However, their efforts backfire and only drive their prodigal family members further away. They are not true detectives but only inept sidekicks. The true “divine detective,” grace itself, is nevertheless able to triumph in a moment of dramatic revelation worthy of a mystery novel, bringing about the conversions not only of Sebastian and Julia, but Lord Marchmain and Charles as well. 


Azania, Rhode Island

Narrative Paths: African Travel in Modern Fiction and Nonfiction, by Kai Mikkonen. Reviewed by Nicholas Vincenzo Barney 


John H. Wilson Jr. Evelyn Waugh Undergraduate Essay Contest

Peter Howell, The Debagging in Decline and Fall


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