New Year’s Roundup

–In a semi-final round of the University Challenge Christmas edition on BBC4, broadcast 29 December 2021, a three-part bonus question was based on the writings of Selina Hastings. The question (at 11:02 minutes) was to identify the subjects of three of her biographies based on the clues provided. The University of Edinburgh team (made up of graduates, rather than students, in this seasonal series) correctly identified the first two as Nancy Mitford and Sybille Bedford. The third subject was described as a satirical novelist about whom the reviewers had commented that his portrayal was sympathetic because, like his biographer, he was a dedicated gossip and was also the most complicated of men. He died in 1966. The team could be heard discussing the possibilities, and at least one of them mentioned  Waugh, but the team captain, TV actor and presenter, Miles Jupp,  answered NoĂ«l Coward. Edinburgh went on, nevertheless, to win that round and advance to the finals.

–A military history website has posted an undated entry on the 1941 British raid on Bardia in North Africa. Following the description of the raid, this coda is added:

The author Evelyn Waugh—who took part in the raid—related in an article he wrote for Life Magazine in November 1941, that the Germans “sent a strong detachment of tanks and armoured cars to repel the imagined invasion”. In his diary published in 1976, a very different picture emerged of incompetent execution by the commandos, against virtually no opposition.

The Life magazine article entitled “Commando Raid on Bardia” is reprinted in EAR.

–The Independent newspaper has joined other journals in predicting the presentation of a treat for Waugh fans in the New Year:

Brideshead Revisited on BBC One

Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino is adapting Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel for the small screen, with an army of stars playing the lead roles. Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes and Joe Alwyn are just some of the actors who will appear in this story of a young British man who gets entangled with an aristocratic family after visiting their ancestral home.

And this notice appeared in a Vogue magazine listing of movies, shows and books to be enjoyed in the New Year:

“I’m super excited for the new BBC adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (one of my favourite novels!). The cast includes Cate Blanchett, Ralph Fiennes and Rooney Mara and given how much I adored this year’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love I imagine this is going to be such a treat. I’m also hanging out for mini-series adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends.” — Annie Brown, contributing editor

Similar notices appear in the websites of Wired and GQ magazines. But there is still no advance, in any of these notices, on previous reports in terms of the number of episodes or scheduling details.

–This week’s guest in the New York Times Book Review interview series “By the Book” is writer Kathryn Schulz. Here’s an excerpt:

Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

A couple of years after we met, my partner and I moved in together and combined our book collections, but the literary merger that’s more striking to me began when we fell in love. Inevitably I wanted to read all the books I’d missed that were important to her, which is how I finally got around to reading, among other things, Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain,” Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood,” Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” and Jean Toomer’s “Cane.”

–A housing developer or city planner in Charles County, Maryland, has come up with a batch of new street names based on English writers. The developer describes the new housing estate in these terms: “St. Charles is a masterplanned community with townhomes and single-family homes for sale in White Plains, MD.” New listings are appearing on streets such as Evelyn Waugh Court. Here’s a link to a new listing at 11603 on that street. Nearby are houses on Mary Shelley Place, Dorothy Sayers Place, and Charlotte Bronte Lane. These street names are too new to appear on Google maps, but nearby names are filled in for Shakespeare Circle, Thomas Hardy Place, Tolkien Ave, Roald Dahl Place, etc. Nothing yet on a Nancy Mitford Street or Elizabeth Bowen Drive, but those are surely under development. Until the street names appear on an accessible map, we can only guess whether Evelyn Waugh Court may be placed in a neighborhood where the other streets have been named exclusively for British women authors. Of course, once they’ve run out of authors, why not use characters and book titles–Crouchback Crescent has a nice alliterative ring to it and Brideshead Boulevard sounds like a sure winner.

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