–It is reported in antiquestradegazette.com that the 1944 page proof edition of Brideshead Revisited from the William Reese collection sold at the Christie’s recent NY online auction for $23,940 (£19,050) including premiums. Here’s a link. This was the copy that belonged to John Betjeman. It was one of 50 such paperbound copies distributed by Waugh as Christmas presents. See previous post.
–In this week’s Guardian column “Top 10s” the subject is “male friendship.” This week’s contributor is Benjamin Markovits who is reminded of the topic after rewatching the 1959 film Diner about a group of male friends from Baltimore. One of his selections is Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited:
A reminder that you don’t fall just for people but also for the worlds they come from. At various points, Charles Ryder has to choose between Sebastian and his family, and even marries his best friend’s sister, but you always get the sense that their friendship lies deeper than all of the other storylines that grow out of it.
Others from the same period are Hemingway’s The Sun also Rises, Greene’s The Third Man and Kerouac’s On the Road.
–The New York Times “By the Book” column this week interviews novelist Alice Elliott Dark. One of the Q&A’s mentions a Waugh novel:
Q. What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of?
A. I’ll mention three lesser-read novels by well-known authors. I deeply love “The Catherine Wheel,” by Jean Stafford, for its extraordinary and often very funny sentences. It takes place during a summer in Maine in a fusty old town and a house full of old-fashioned objects and habits, yet like her work in general it’s sobering about the nature of desire. “A Handful of Dust,” by Evelyn Waugh, always makes me squirm and hope I’m not deluding myself like Tony Last. It’s a scathing book that takes down the pretensions of class and empire as it entertains with quick brilliant scenes. “The Good Terrorist,” by Doris Lessing,” is a thorough look at radical squatters in London and what they understand and what they don’t.
Dark’s latest novel is Fellowship Point to be released next week.
–A Scottish paper The Sunday Post has published a biographical background article on pioneering food writer Elizabeth David. Her first book was published in 1950 by John Lehman and was entitled A Book of Mediterranean Food. Evelyn Waugh has a small part in the story:
French Country Cooking followed in 1951. An extensive tour of Italy begot Italian Food, in 1954: Evelyn Waugh pronounced it one of his two favourite books that year. Summer Cooking came out in 1955 – the first to display her impressive grasp of the best British dishes – and, in 1960, French Provincial Cooking, widely thought her greatest work.
–Several papers have filed profile articles on Chris Pincher who recently resigned as Conservative Party Whip. The Guardian’s story opens with this:
Chris Pincher may well be taking consolation from what he has described as his favourite story – Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows – which, of course, involves a reckless character who needs the help of friends to save himself from himself.
In the Wind in the Willows, Toad sees the error of his wild, excessive ways and ends up living happily ever after. Whether Pincher’s situation has a happy ending remains to be seen. But he undoubtedly needs friends.
Several papers (including the Guardian) also list Pincher’s favorite authors (in addition to Kenneth Grahame) as revealed in his CV: Evelyn Waugh, Arnold Bennett, R L Stevenson, John Buchan and Simon Raven.
–Finally, Penguin Books has posted a publicity sheet promoting the paperback edition of publishing executive Nicholas Coleridge’s 2019 autobiography The Glossy Years. Here’s an excerpt of their excerpts:
‘The autobiography of magazine kingpin Nicholas Coleridge is a Waugh-like whirlwind of eccentric characters, lavish parties and even a spell in a Sri Lankan jail. It was funny enough to excuse all the name-dropping’ Evening Standard, Books of the Year
‘A deliciously moreish memoir of the author’s glittering career in magazine publishing. Like having a really good gossip over a glass of fizz with Evelyn Waugh‘ Sunday Telegraph [Emphasis provided by Penguin]
Sri Lanka (then known as Ceylon) was Waugh’s destination in 1954. It was during that journey that he suffered the halucinatory episodes described in The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Coleridge’s own experiences in the Sri Lankan prison may make an interesting comparison. See previous post for more about that episode. Coleridge (a relative of the poet) made his name at the Condé Nast publishing group. A date for the US publication of this edition has apparently not yet been announced.