New Complete Works Volumes Announced

Oxford University Press has announced a new round of volumes in its ongoing Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh. These include the following:

Robbery Under Law, v. 15, ed. Michael G Brennan

This is the first fully annotated critical edition of Waugh’s book on Mexico, Robbery Under Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson (1939), based on three months’ research by Waugh in the country in 1938 and rarely included in later reprints of Waugh’s travel writings. Waugh insisted in its opening words: ‘This is a political book’; it traced the expropriation of British and American oil interests in Mexico by its repressive Marxist government. It described the current political and social inequities suffered by both its Mexican citizens and foreign companies trading there and also provided a powerful account of the history of Catholic persecution in the country. Its narratives offered an implicit but potent warning about the barbarity of totalitarian regimes as war in Western Europe grew increasingly likely.

The book includes for the first time the detailed contract drawn up between Waugh and the Pearson family, who tacitly commissioned the work in response to the Mexican government’s expropriation of their extensive oil interests.

Michael G Brennan is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the School of English, University of Leeds. He has published various books and editions on the writings and history of the Sidney family of Penshurst Place, Kent, and on English travellers on the Continent between 1450 and 1700. He has also published widely on twentieth-century literature, including books on Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and George Orwell.

The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, v. 14, ed. Dr Barbara Cooke.

In winter 1954, Evelyn Waugh took a voyage to Sri Lanka to escape the English cold and recover his ailing health. Visibly unwell when he boarded ship, once at sea he began suffering auditory hallucinations that pursued him through his ‘holiday’ and back on to an early flight home. He then fictionalized his experiences as The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. This curious novel has baffled and intrigued critics ever since its first publication in 1957 and is now presented in a full critical edition. This new volume charts the creation and publication of the novel and examines its cultural and literary significance, noting every textual change and revision from manuscript to the last edition to be published in Evelyn Waugh’s lifetime. It has a comprehensive appendix of contextual notes and an extensive scholarly introduction covering all aspects of the history of this text and its place in cultural and literary history. It draws on newly discovered material relating to Evelyn Waugh’s breakdown, including Waugh’s engagement diaries, to tell the story behind the narrative and explain how fantasy and painful reality intertwine in this highly biographical work of fiction.

Dr Barbara Cooke is a Lecturer in English at Loughborough University and Co-Executive Editor of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh. She also serves as a volume editor on the edition and as an Editorial Board member of the Complete Works of Ford Madox Ford, for which she is co-editing two volumes of letters. She has also published biographical writing on Waugh and guidance on how to manage a large editorial team.

Edmund Campion, v. 17, ed. Gerard Kilroy.

Evelyn Waugh originally wrote his Edmund Campion to thank Martin D’Arcy, SJ, and to help with the building of Campion Hall, but his experience of Communist oppression in Mexico and Croatia transformed his understanding of Campion’s life, revealing Campion less as an Elizabethan martyr than as part of ‘the unending war’ between the church and the totalitarian state. Waugh wrote a passionate new ‘Preface’ for the American edition of 1946 and made important changes to each of the three subsequent editions, culminating in the beautiful third edition of 1961. This new edition provides extensive biographical and contextual notes to help the reader unfamiliar with early modern history and records the many manuscript revisions and the book’s reception both sides of the Atlantic. The introduction explores the personal impact of Waugh’s friendship with the Asquith and Herbert families and examines the cultural context of a brief period of confidence for English Catholicism, energized by the canonization process (in which Waugh’s own daughters were involved), which coincided with the publication of the five editions of the book from 1935 to 1961. Waugh received the Hawthornden Prize for the book just before he took part in the opening of Campion Hall; the book offered him a Jesuit hearth in the ‘household of the faith’ and gave a new theological direction to his writing, characterized by Brideshead RevisitedHelenaThe Sword of Honour trilogy, and Ronald Knox. The book reveals the serious and passionate depth of an author sometimes seen only as a satirist and emerges as one of the best objets d’Arcy, which Waugh continued to give to friends till his death.

Gerard Kilroy, has an MA from Magdalen College, Oxford in both Classics and English. After a PhD at Lancaster, his first book was on the circulation of manuscripts connected with Campion. He won a prize from English Literary Renaissance for his ‘Advertising the Reader: Sir John Harington’s ‘Directions in the Margent’ (2011), a study of the role of the queen’s godson in subversive publishing in manuscript and print. His biography of Edmund Campion, A Scholarly Life used many recently discovered manuscripts in Prague and Cieszyn, Poland, to provide a meticulously researched picture of Campion’s life. He lectures on religious ideas and biblical sources in Shakespeare. The book was edited with the assistance of Thomas M. McCoog, SJ

The foregoing descriptions were adapted from the publisher’s announcement. OUP and are accepting advance orders for copies, with an estimated UK publication date of 27 October 2022. US publication is set for 27 January 2023.  It should also be noted that OUP has not stated that these are the only new volumes to be released on these dates.

UPDATE (2 August 2022): US publication date was added.


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