Roundup: Book Fair and Vanity Fair

–The Empire State Rare Book and Print Fair in early October has announced its exhibitors and events. This will take place at St Bartholomew’s Church on Park Ave betw. 50th-51st Streets starting 5 October. There are two live events of special interest to our readers. These are both on Friday, 6 October. Sir Michael Lindsay-Hogg will appear for a “fireside chat” between 5-8pm. Here’s an excerpt of the description of his career:

If fame, though fleeting, matters at all, Michael Lindsay-Hogg is partly famous as the director who lured The Beatles up on the roof for their final-ever Concert as the climax to his film, Let It Be, which provided all the footage for Peter Jackson’s epic “documentary about the making of a documentary,” Get Back

Moving to TV drama, Michael received four BAFTA nominations. In 1981, he won as Co- Director for Brideshead Revisited

Lindsay-Hogg worked with Derek Granger on the casting, settings and script of the TV adaptation. He directed the first episodes and several portions of the later episodes but was forced to drop out for filming most of the later episodes because of a strike which delayed the production. He now lives in Upstate New York.  Preceding Lindsay-Hogg will be Daisy Waugh, speaking at 3-4 pm on the topic of “Writing Fiction”. Here’s the description:

Daisy Waugh has written 12 novels which, between them, have been translated into many languages. Three of those novels were set in early 20th century Hollywood, New York and Colorado.. She  has written two further novels under the name EV Harte, starring a tarot-reading detective.  Most recently, she has written a series of comic murder mysteries starring a family of contemporary British aristocrats. The third in the series, Old School Ties, will be published in the UK in September. She  is the granddaughter of Evelyn Waugh and daughter of Auberon Waugh.

According to the announcement, tickets to the fair will include entry to the foregoing events as well as the exhibits. Here’s a link to the details.

Vanity Fair has an article by James Reginato on famous country house estates in Yorkshire, with detailed background histories on three of them. One (Castle Howard) is well known in this parish:

Over the years, various film productions—Brideshead Revisited and Bridgerton, most notably—have brought in much-needed cash. But when producers of the latter called, the family was skeptical. “I knew the books, because they had been published by Harper Collins,” says [Victoria] Barnsley. “This wasn’t Evelyn Waugh, put it that way.”

Another Yorkshire estate also has a connection to Evelyn Waugh but is less well known. This is Sledmere, discussed in another section:

“Some might argue that Sledmere, as the seat of mere baronets, hardly qualifies as a great house,” posits Christopher Simon Sykes, 75, a great-great-great-great-great-grand-nephew of Richard Sykes, builder of the aforementioned estate. The gray stone exterior of the house is fairly austere. But once inside, there’s nothing plain—or small—about it, and it sits on just under 9,000 acres.

This is the family home of Waugh’s friend and biographer Christopher Sykes who must have lived there as a child. Although not himself mentioned in the article, some of his siblings and perhaps his children and grand children are described. Waugh was certainly a more frequent guest at Sledmere than he was at nearby Castle Howard.

While researching Sykes’ life for the note above, I discovered that he was the co-author with another of Waugh’s Oxford friends Robert Byron of a novel called Innocence and Design (London, 1935). Its authorship was attributed to “Richard Waughburton”. It seems to be well known among booksellers as there are several copies available at collectable prices. What struck me as odd is that I don’t recall any of Waugh’s biographers or critics mentioning this. Byron’s biographer James Knox has a fairly detailed discussion of the book and its critical reception, noting, inter alia, that Waugh declared it “unreadable” (p. 334). Whether that was in a review or a letter isn’t stated. He wasn’t keeping a diary at the time.

–Kenneth Craycraft writing for a Roman Catholic news service (OSV News) notes the 100th anniversary of the Hogarth Press edition of Eliot’s The Wasteland:

I have long considered “The Wasteland” to be the poetic inspiration of such novels as Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” Evelyn Waugh’s “Vile Bodies” (among others), Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse,” and similar between-the-wars novels. Each of these works of literature are portraits of the disillusion and unmoored debauchery of post-World War II Europe. They are not celebrations of what the modern has wrought, but rather observations of the disaster and diagnosis of what it portends. All are “modernist” works, but only in the sense that the modern ought to make us shudder in anxious perplexity. We have lost our way, they all seem to say, and we haven’t the foggiest idea of how to find it again. Written before any of these novels, “The Wasteland” might be seen as the blueprint for all of them.

Indeed, Waugh used a line from “The Wasteland” as the title of another of his novels from that period, “A Handful of Dust.” If you know the novel, you can see how it was inspired by these lines from Eliot:

“You cannot say, or guess, for you know only / A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, / And the dry stone no sound of water. / Only / There is shadow under this red rock, / (Come in under the shadow of this red rock), / And I will show you something different from either / Your shadow at morning striding behind you / Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; / I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

And in Waugh’s most famous (if not his best) novel, “Brideshead Revisited,” the stuttering character Anthony Blanche delivers from memory a passage from “The Wasteland,” at the window of lodgings at Oxford, in order to scandalize the earnest undergraduates passing by in the quad: “In languishing tones [Anthony] recited passages from ‘The Wasteland’ to the sweatered and muffled throng that was on its way to the river. ‘I, Tiresias, have foresuffered all,’ he sobbed to them from the Venetian arches; ‘Enacted on this same d-divan or b-bed, / I who have sat by Thebes below the wall / And walked among the l-l-lowest of the dead.’”


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