The latest issue of the Evelyn Waugh Studies has been published and distributed to members. This is issue No. 52.1 (Spring 2021). The contents and opening paragraphs are as follows:
Evelyn Waugh: A Housemaster’s Report
Evelyn Waugh left Lancing 100 years ago this December saying: “I am sure I have left at the right time: as early as possible and with success.” He was the 2,862nd pupil of the school. Since then about 11,000 more pupils have come and gone but he remains one of the best known and most distinguished; he even has an annual lecture in his honour. On one of these occasions, the Waugh family gave the College Evelyn’s original final report from December 1921. It is a fascinating document, prescient and challenging, and greatly to the credit of Lancing. To almost everyone’s surprise, Waugh had just won an open scholarship to Hertford College Oxford to read History. At that time it was much easier for public school boys to get Oxbridge places – of the 400 pupils who were at school with Waugh over five years, 128 did so – but only 14 got academic scholarships; that was the gold standard.
In the report, the Revd Henry Lucas, his History teacher, said “He can write an essay that is fresh and thoughtful. He can think and has the happy gift of finding the right word to express his thoughts.” His English teacher and form master, J F Roxburgh, of whom more anon, said “His work has great merit and is sometimes really brilliant;” “I think he has quite unusual ability and a real gift for writing. Congratulations on the first of many successes . . . we shall hear of him again.” …
Greene’s Life with Waugh
The Unquiet Englishman: A Life of Graham Greene, by Richard Greene, New York: Norton, 2021. 624 pp. $40; or Russian Roulette: The Life and Times of Graham Greene, London: Little, Brown, 2020. 608 pp. £25.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Manley
This is the first comprehensive, single-volume biography of Graham Greene, a major 20th-century British novelist. He was also a close personal and professional friend of Evelyn Waugh as well as a fellow Roman Catholic convert. The previous detailed biography was by Norman Sherry and was published in three volumes during 1989-2004. That was written with Greene’s permission and with access to his papers, though the first volume was published in Greene’s lifetime and did not meet with his approval because of its “intrusion into his sexual life” contrary to what he thought he had agreed with Sherry. The final volume was, according to the author of this latest version, Richard Greene (hereafter “RG;” no relation to Graham), written during an early onset of Sherry’s dementia and is “strangely incoherent”. Another shorter book by Michael Shelden entitled Graham Greene: The Enemy Within (1994) was affected, as I recall, by a rivalry with Sherry and Greene over access to Greene’s papers (which were denied to Shelden) and, while readable and brief, is not usually recommended. RG describes it as “prosecutorial”. Greene’s boyhood, education and literary history track closely with those of Evelyn Waugh. Their private adult lives, however, sharply diverge.
The present book covers their friendship and some of the common issues arising from their published works. There are excellent reviews of the book available for those who want a broader consideration of its contents. […] Rather than offer another discussion of the entire book, it is my intention to concentrate on those points of contact between the lives and works of the two writers.
UPDATED (16 August 2021): Last paragraph updated.