The Waugh Before Christmas

Several publication and broadcast media have featured Waugh’s works in their holiday season offerings:

–The BBC is going to rebroadcast a 2016 radio program that includes readings from Philip Eade’s biography: Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited. This will be transmitted tomorrow (20 December 2020) at 14:20 on BBC Radio 4 Extra and will be posted afterwards on the internet via BBC iPlayer. Here’s a link.  It will consist of a 1 hr. 10 min. reading by Nicholas Grace who retired the jersey for portrayal of Anthony Blanche in the 1981 Granada TV series.

–The Grace/Blanche connection is also noted in this article about the liqueur Chartreuse appearing in the New York Times:

The Carthusian [monks] sustain this isolated lifestyle largely through the production and sale of Chartreuse, a liqueur the monks developed centuries ago. Like its mountainous namesake and the hue named after it, Chartreuse is sharp, bright, profoundly herbal. In Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Brideshead Revisited,” Anthony Blanche compares it to ingesting the rainbow: “It’s like swallowing a sp-spectrum.” A Baltimore bartender and Chartreuse superfan, Brendan Finnerty, says it tastes “like Christmas in a glass,” or “grassy Jägermeister.” To me, it has the color and flavor of summer sunlight striking a canopy of leaves — impossibly vibrant, sparkling with life, green beyond belief.

–Another publication also makes a point of the reference to wine expertise in that same novel. This appears in the Telegraph India:

… few writers in the last half-century have written about wine with the passion of Evelyn Waugh in Brideshead Revisited: when an older Burgundy is brought out, Charles Ryder says, “[the Burgundy] seemed to me, then, serene and triumphant, a reminder that the world was an older and better place…”  Indeed, the exchange between him and Sebastian Flyte (“Ought we to be drunk every night… Yes, I think so.” “I think so too.”) seemed to mirror Charles Baudelaire in the 19th century when he said, in “L’Âme du vin (The Soul of Wine)”, that “one should always be drunk”, be it on wine or poetry.

–Finally, the Times Literary Supplement has prominently included Waugh quotes in its Christmas Quiz set by Tony Lurcock. Our reader Dave Lull has kindly sent alongs these excerpts each of which includes a Waugh quotation:

8. WICKET-KEEPERS
a. ‘“I used to keep wicket for my college, you know, but I was too short-sighted to be much good. Still, I am entitled to the blazer,” he said with a note of defiance in his voice, “and it is more appropriate to a sporting occasion than a stiff collar.”’
b. ‘… his attention being providentially attracted by his hat, which was toppling. Indeed, it demanded from him a constant attention, and a quickness of eye and hand, very like that exacted by wicket-keeping.’
c. ‘“And there’s Ned Noakes, the whiskered and one-eyed wicketkeeper, alert and active, though he’s forty-five if he’s a day. With his one eye (and a glass one) he sees more than most of us do.”’
d. ‘And here came slowly out, to keep wicket at the age of 70, John Farringdon, a member of the M.C.C. Committee, who had captained an English team to the West Indies, who had made fifty runs with a broken thumb, whose presence on any cricket field conferred an honour.’
e. ‘“Written your essay? Good. Then we won’t read it.
Late yesterday I saw you playing cricket.
Now let’s suppose these volumes are a wicket.
Just watch. Here’s some advice. I’m sure you’ll need it.”
He piled up books and crouched behind, pretending,
A wicket-keeper, waiting for the ball’.
11. ‘A PREFERENCE FOR WATER’
a. ‘Previous governesses had limited their conversation on the wine topic to a respectful and doubtless sincere expression of a preference for water.’
b ‘If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.’
c. ‘“The water,” I said in a low voice. “The glass of water is very moving to me.” I looked up and saw the surprised faces of my students. “The water is a sign of …” I paused. “The water seems to be a sign of absence.”’
d. “Water? Water! Oh yes – water – water – very good – water – good – good.”
e. ‘“Water, sir?” said a voice in Mr Salter’s ear.
“Well, I think perhaps I would sooner …” A clear and chilling cascade fell into his tumbler and James returned to the sideboard.’
17. BRAZIL
a.‘ “I’ve decided to go to Brazil.”
“Brazil! Why, they are all Roman Catholics there, surely!”
“Are they? I hadn’t thought of that.”’
b. ‘The mighty merchant smiled.
Brazil? He twirled a button,
Without a glance my way:
“But, madam, is there nothing else
That we can show to-day?”’
c. ‘“No bathing in Brazil. No bathing in Brazil.” The meeting took up the cry. “No bathing in Brazil.”’
d. ‘“…that rascal of a boy of mine made some sort of a stupid suggestion that I should –”’
‘“ – That you should offer your hand and heart to Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez – from Brazil, where the nuts come from.”’
e. ‘On the 19th of August we finally left the shores of Brazil. I thank God, I shall never again visit a slave-country.’
The Waugh answers are 8.a: Decline and Fall; 11.e: Scoop; and 17.c: A Handful of Dust.  The only one I got right was 11.c because of the Salter reference. I expected a Waugh quote in #17. Brazil but guessed wrongly with the choice of 17.a as a quote from Ninety-Two Days.  Thanks to Dave for sending this along.

 

Comment:  The Waugh answers are 8.a: Decline and Fall; 11.e: Scoop; and 17.c: A Handful of Dust.  The only one I got right was 11.c because of the Salter reference. I expected a Waugh quote in #17. Brazil but guessed wrongly with the choice of 17.a as a quote from Ninety-Two Days.  Thanks to Dave for sending this along.

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