New Academic Studies (Updated)

–The article based on a previously mentioned lecture has now been published and posted on the internet. This is entitled “Narrating Difficult Histories: Interwar Border Crossing in Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies (1930) and Christopher Isherwood’s Down There on a Visit (1962)” and is written by Yuexi Wu. The lecture, which had a slightly broader topic, was described in a previous post linked above. Here is the abstract for the printed version:

The interwar border crossings in Vile Bodies (1930) and Down There on a Visit (1962) reveal difficult and often lost histories of violations of freedom of expression and persecutions of sexual minorities. Drawing on archival material, including literary manuscripts and historical British Government records, to shed new light on the two novels, this essay demonstrates how border controls in Europe attracted urgent attention in the shadow of war and how customs, at the forefront of national security, were consequently relied upon as an ever crucial institution responsible for protecting the nation states and their citizens from “undesirable aliens”. Waugh and Isherwood criticised the injustice and violence of the border control policies and practices that failed to balance the self-interest of the nation states and humanitarian concerns. Narrating the difficult histories of the shadow of the shadow and experimenting with comedy and satire to narrate violence, both writers themselves crossed borders.

The article is published in the journal English Studies (April 2022) and is available online at this link. Yuexi Wu is co-editor of the society’s journal, Evelyn Waugh Studies.

–The University of Ghent (Belgium) has posted on the internet a 215-page academic article submitted by Florian Deroo for a master’s degree in 2015-16. This is entitled: “‘Why Go Abroad? See England First.’ Colonialism and Modernity in the Travel Writing of the Webbs and Evelyn Waugh (1911-1931)”.  It consists of two parts: the first dealing with the writings of Sydney and Beatrice Webb about their travels in India and the second about Evelyn Waugh’s travels in Africa in 1930-31 as described in Remote People and Black Mischief. The article is written in English with Dutch summaries and is available at this link.

–A literary criticism of Waugh’s fictional writings was published earlier this year in India. This is Evelyn Waugh Revisited by Ravi K Dhar. This description appears on the book’s back cover:

…In the maze of his prolific writings, the quintessential Waugh often escaped the critical scrutiny of critics and reviewers, who often charged him with being a bitter critic of modern Britain, without presenting an alternative moral vision or else that his novels play up an untenable nostalgia for the aristocratic values of the feudal past and a pre-occupation with thrusting his religion on others.

This book attempts to tear through the foggy veil of such critiques to revisit and redeem the real Waugh as represented in his creative works. The study argues that the claim of Evelyn Waugh to be recognised as a major twentieth century novelist in English literature rests on his creative use of comedy to convey his unique vision of life. The book highlights the centrality of the ubiquitous metaphor of the ever-revolving wheel of life to an understanding of his comic vision and art. The metaphor helps to define not just the division of this world into static, dynamic and religious characters, but also the weltanschauung that drives them to lead their lives in a particular way. Based on this, Waugh’s novels are amenable to classification into lesser and greater comedies. The book argues that while the lesser comedies play up the absurdity of belief in the Enlightenment philosophy of progress, the greater comedies present the grandeur of life in the spiritual resurrection of the central characters.

The 313 page book is available from Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions. There is a link on the Amazon site to the book’s Introduction section. There are also detailed descriptions of Ravi Dhar’s other writings and academic credentials. He teaches at Guru Gobind Indraprastha University in New Delhi.

UPDATE (29 April 2022): The information about the publication and availability of the “Border Crossing” article was received shortly after the original notice was posted.

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