Pre-Easter Roundup

–Roger Lewis has posted another reading list for the current epidemic. This is in the Daily Mail and is entitled “Keep laughing and read on.” Waugh’s 1938 novel Scoop is among those recommended:

William Boot, who contributes nature columns on voles to the Daily Beast, accidentally turns into a foreign correspondent — during slack periods newspapers always want jolly stories about distant wars.

The irreverent novel was based on Waugh’s experiences, contributing to this paper, as it happens, when he covered Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia.

He doesn’t stint on descriptions of megalomaniac proprietors, eccentric editors, and lunatic reporters running up expenses accounts for collapsible canoes, cleft sticks, camels and tropical kit. Journalists love this, as they can see nothing in it is invented.

–The Australian Financial News has a list of books to be read over the Easter holiday. These are recommended by several of its contributors. Author and journalist Chris Hammer includes these two in his entry:

As a ling-time journalist, I’ve always loved Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, which has the added advantage of being extremely funny, as a young man is dispatched to cover the Abyssinian war. And speaking of humour in dark times, Spike Milligan’s classic Adolph Hitler: My Part in his Downfall is laugh-out-loud funny.

Scoop also appears in the list of reading recommended by the staff of Southern Utah University. Here’s the entry contributed by Nicole Heath:

Published in 1938, “Scoop” follows wannabe writer William Boot as he is thrown into a warzone to cover a breaking story.  William writes a less-than interesting column about various nature topics including badgers and great crested grebes. He is sent on the adventure of a lifetime that he didn’t ask for when the large newspaper he works for mistakes him for the famous author John Courtney Boot. William must leave the quiet of his home in the countryside outside of London and find himself woefully unprepared to cover a civil war in Ishmaelia. Lauded by Prof. Christiensen of SUU as one of the few books that have made him laugh out loud, this short satire will have readers gasping for breath and wiping tears of laughter from their eyes through the heat of summer vacation.

The Guardian asked several novelists to recommend a book that would “inspire, uplift and offer escape.” Here’s novelist Alan Hollinghurst’s suggestion:

I thought JR Ackerley’s Hindoo Holiday was the most enjoyable book I’d ever read when I discovered it belatedly 10 years ago, and it seems to me even better now. Another time (the 1920s), and another place (the Indian state of Chhokrapur), are captured in a brilliantly observant journal by Ackerley, who had spent five months there as private secretary to the whimsical, indecisive and sexually unorthodox Maharajah, one of the most enchanting characters in nonfiction. Evelyn Waugh called Hindoo Holiday “radiantly delightful” and its accuracy of human perception “intoxicating”. Wise, subtle, amazingly frank and wonderfully funny, it makes a perfect outing from the horrors of the present moment.

Waugh’s review of Ackerley’s book appeared in a 1932 issue of The Spectator and is collected in Essays, Articles and Reviews 1922-1934, CWEW v. 26, p. 454.

TLS asked its contributors to discuss “cultural things to occupy themselves in isolation.” Biographer and novelist Lisa Hilton is stranded in Venice where among other things she is teaching English. She includes in her discussion the following:

The books I have here in Italy tend towards the serious – if only the complete works of Evelyn Waugh could be flown in by drone. Or some really juicy thrillers. Or Jilly Cooper, come to that. Obviously I could seek them out online, but the temptation to scroll through the news is too strong.

–In an article in the Evening Standard that discusses Mark Kermode’s recent BBC Four TV series Secrets of the Cinema, David Sexton focuses on the final episode relating to spy films. The feature attractions are Alfred Hitchcock who directed several notable spy films and the James Bond series based on Ian Fleming’s novels. On the latter, the article includes this comment:

Not everyone loves him [James Bond], you know. Evelyn Waugh, taken to the 1962 premiere of the first film, Dr No, by Ian and Ann Fleming, thought it “absolutely awful — fatuous & tedious, not even erotic”.

—-An article appears on the Ralph Lauren website entitled “The Iconic Titles that have Inspired Ralph Lauren’s Collections and his World”. This is written by Mary Randolph Carter. Brideshead Revisited is included:

The style of Lord Sebastian Flyte and Captain Charles Ryder in Waugh’s riveting epic of the aristocratic Flyte family in the years between the world wars has often inspired the English elegance and studied nonchalance embodied by so many of Ralph Lauren’s men’s collections, and in particular his Purple Label line.

–Another fashion website (L’Officiel) also has featured a design with a Brideshead connection. This is explained in an article by Jason Lim entitled “Here’s how the leading luxury brands integrate sustainability with fashion:”

In order to give back to the industry and as a wonderful way to foster young creative talent, Alexander McQueen has devised a scheme to redirect surplus house fabrics for students at fashion colleges in the UK. […]

Steven Stokey-Daley, a recent graduate of Fashion/Apparel Design (BA) at the University of Westminster incorporated a selection of these fabrics for coats in his final collection. Pictured is the Ryder tennis coat in slubbed wool and the Flyte dressing gown made up of 120 panels in three different silks, both coats are named after the protagonists in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. [Emphasis supplied.]


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