The latest issues of the society’s journal Evelyn Waugh Studies have been posted on the website: EWS No. 51.2 (Fall 2020) and EWS 51.1 (Spring 2020). These have been delayed and are somewhat reduced in content due the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spring 2020 issue (51.1) contains a review of Novel Houses: Twenty Famous Fictional Dwellings, by Christina Hardyment published by the Bodleian Library. Here are the opening paragraphs of that review:
This attractive and informative book is the latest example, dating back over the last five years, of books devoted to narratives about the connections between houses in novels, their authors, and in some cases the dwellings of those authors. The others are Writers’ Houses (2015) by Nick Channer (reviewed in EWS 47.1, Spring 2016), and House of Fiction (2017) by Phyllis Richardson.
In this case, Christina Hardyment limits herself to twenty novels written in the UK and the USA, from the 18th century (Horace Walpole and Castle of Otranto) to the present day (J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter). Her previous writings have also mostly related to seemingly nonliterary themes in literature, such as gardens, child care, servants, household procedures, trails, nature and the Thames.
The Fall 2020 issue (51.2) contains a review of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh edition of Waugh’s 1950 novel Helena. This was published recently by Oxford University Press. Here are the review’s opening paragraphs:
This is the second novel to be issued in the OUP’s ongoing Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh series. The first (Vile Bodies) was published over three years ago, so it has been much awaited, and is worth the wait. Helena is noted both as Waugh’s only historical novel as well as the one that took him the longest to write. As explained in the volume’s “History of the Text” section, he began the book in 1945, right after Brideshead Revisited was published, and it was issued 5 years later in 1950. The delay was due to Waugh’s changing his mind and putting it aside.
He began with the idea of writing a “Saint’s life,” following the formula of Roman Catholic hagiography, but, after doing a considerable amount of historical research, soon gave that up. After writing in what was probably a serious style starting in May 1945, he put it aside and picked it up again at the end of the year. By then, he had decided to write it as a historical novel rather than a Saint’s life. I thought he announced in a diary entry or letter the exact point at which that decision was made (after a disappointing and unproductive weekend at Chagford), but if he did, I can’t find it, and nor apparently did the editor, Sara Haslam.