Tax-Day Roundup

Country Life magazine has posted a 2-part essay on the history of Edwin Lutyens design and the building of Campion Hall at Oxford. Waugh was involved in the process. Here’s an excerpt from part 1:

…Waugh celebrated the Hospitality of Campion Hall in a manuscript reminiscence kept in the hall’s archive. ‘We came from all quarters as guests of the house; fellows and undergraduates, gowned, from the neighbouring colleges, refugees from foreign tyranny, editors of Catholic papers from London, under-Secretaries of State visiting the Chatham or the Canning, the President of the Royal Academy, the Spanish Ambassador, and men marked by no notoriety but distinguished by the high privilege of the Master’s friendship. You never knew whom you would meet at Campion Hall but one thing was certain, that for a single evening at any rate they would all fit harmoniously into the social structure which the Master, without apparent effort, ingeniously contrived.

Today, the hall may feel pleasantly and appropriately severe, but that is not the impact it had on Waugh in the 1930s. Accommodation across Oxford was spartan, so Waugh felt ‘it was remarkable that the only religious house in the university should appear less monastic than the secular colleges… the carpeted entrance-hall, the broad staircase, the profusion of ornate furniture, the bed-rooms with their tasteful choice of bed-side books, the prodigality and accessibility of hot-water, all had the air of a private house rather than of a college’. …

–The Thomistic Institute at Georgetown University in Washington, DC has announced a lecture by Prof. Patrick Callahan of the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture titled “The Influence of Virgil and St. Augustine on Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.” Here are the details:

Thursday, April 27

6:00 PM

WAL 491

This lecture is free and open to the public.

About the Speaker:

Patrick Callahan is director of the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as Assistant Professor of English & Humanities at St. Gregory the Great Seminary. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Dallas and his graduate work at Fordham University in Classical Philology. While his doctoral work focused on ancient Greek commentaries to the lyric poet Pindar, his recent work focuses on early Jesuit Latin texts.

–The German language newspaper Welt has a story about how Waugh got his novel Brideshead Revisited written, proofed and published during one of the most active periods of WWII. Here is an excerpt translated by Google:

…On June 6th – at breakfast the waiter had greeted him with the news of D-Day – he wrote the last chapter in no time at all, on the 20th he mailed the manuscript and returned via Gibraltar, Algiers, Catania, Naples and Bari back to war: together with Randolph Churchill, son of the prime minister , Waugh was to keep in touch with Tito’s partisans on the Croatian coast. How he should correct the upheaval of his novel behind enemy lines was therefore in the stars…

With some certainty no upheaval has embarked on a more adventurous journey than Waugh described years later. Brideshead was sent to Downing Street by the publishers in October 1944; “From there,” Waugh reported, “it traveled to Italy in the Prime Minister’s mailbag, was flown out from Brindisi, and parachuted into Gajana in Croatia, then an isolated region of resistance; it was corrected in Topusko and then taken to Split by jeep when the road was temporarily out of enemy hands; from there by ship to Italy and home, via Downing Street.”

Brideshead Revisited is Evelyn Waugh’s most famous book to date; when he wrote it while the war was on hiatus for him, he himself thought it his best. After that, however, he was as severe with himself as he had been with Randolph Churchill, without whom it would not have appeared at the time.

“I wrote with a zeal that was completely foreign to me,” he recalled, “but also impatient to return to the war. It was a bleak time of real hardship before impending catastrophe – marked by soybeans and a limited vocabulary – and so the book is imbued with an immoderate lust for food and wine, for the splendor of the recent past, but also for rhetorical, ornamental language, which I find disgusting today on a full stomach.”

–The Los Angeles Times asked 95 local writers to name their favorite books about the city. In the published excerpts a Waugh novel appears twice:

“The books by emigrés — Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, Christopher Isherwood, Thomas Mann and others. Even West falls into this category. The foreigners don’t count in most people’s L.A. canon, but they spoke to a kid raised among immigrants. I grew up among ‘foreigners.’”— Dana Gioia

“Evelyn Waugh’s ‘The Loved One’ and Aldous Huxley’s ‘After Many a Summer [Dies the Swan]’ snuck dark comedy onto the serious shelves (can we imagine Terry Southern or even Thomas Pynchon without them?).”— Boris Dralyuk

Links in the quote are from the original.

–The Guardian in a story about declining football player behavior blames in part the so-called VAR (video replay of on-field action). The story opens with this:

It is always vital not to bend too far with the weather, to dodge the squalls and thunderclaps; and above all to be wary of the worst and most deathly storm of all, the confected media storm.

Does the Premier League really have a problem with “player behaviour”? It has been tempting given the heat, the chat, the clipped-up punditry faces prophesying the decline of all that is fine and noble, like Evelyn Waugh bemoaning the death of the carpeted bathroom, to file the current rage about rage alongside all the other things that have seemed, very briefly, to signal the coming of the rapture.

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