Easter Roundup

–The Jesuit journal America has an article by senior editor James T Keane entitled “The sometimes-savage perfection of Catholic parody.” In looking back over previous articles on this theme, he came up with one in 1958 where its author Joel Wells offered parodies of a simple sentence by four writers. Here’s the result for Waugh:

…The 1958 contribution was from Joel Wells, an accomplished author and the editor of The Critic, an edgy Catholic magazine out of Chicago. In “Death of a Dog,” Wells imagined how a brief news story (“ITEM: A dog was struck and killed by a car at 9:30 last night on the highway north of town, an unidentified boy reported to the police this morning.”) would be handled by four authors: Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and Francois Mauriac…

How about Evelyn Waugh? Wells was savage:

“A promising petrol tanker was just settling into his sights when Lady Distraught gave one of her well-known screams and something struck the car’s right fender with a thud. “Clement Attlee!” swore His Lordship, sure that he had run up against one of those rural American types whose clothing is covered over with copper rivets and buttons, ‘that’s bound to have marred the finish’.”…

The results for Greene and Hemingway are equally amusing. Here’s a link to the article.

–The Los Angeles Review of Books has a review of Andrew Pettegree’s The Book at War. This is by Greg Barnhisel. Here’s an excerpt:

In this generous and often surprising study, Pettegree looks at how books and war intertwine from every angle imaginable: how soldiers use books and how books shape soldiers; how writers depict war, and how war created writers; how noncombatants turn to books for solace, and how these inexpensive, durable, and easily damaged objects seem to be everywhere a conflict is raging.

Although he nods to the strong 19th-century connection of war and books—Clausewitz, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the library at Sandhurst—Pettegree’s great subject is the 20th century, when mass literacy, public libraries, and a thriving publishing industry across the Western world put books everywhere, even in the trenches of World War I’s Western Front. National library associations and eventually the Red Cross ensured soldiers and prisoners of war had reading material. If World War I didn’t provide much time for relaxing reading, it did spawn authors like Siegfried Sassoon, Ernest Hemingway, and the doomed poet Wilfred Owen.

The beloved novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) was the product of the next war, as insubordinate and incompetent Royal Marines officer Evelyn Waugh received unpaid leave at its height to compose his masterpiece. As he told his commanding officer, “once an idea becomes fully formed in the author’s mind, it cannot be left unexploited without deterioration.” How the Allies could win the war with Waugh a noncombatant remains a mystery.

Here’s a link to the full review.

The Spectator has an article by Robin Ashenden entitled “Where have the West’s liberal value’s gone?” This begins with his consideration of what those values were before they disappeared. Among them there is this:

…there was a hunger for Western culture. As a teacher I was proud, I realised, of so much of ours: the National Gallery lunchtime concerts during the Blitz, Henry Moore and his bomb-shelter drawings, Orwell’s bloody-minded willingness to speak his mind and upset all sides at once. Writers like Evelyn Waugh or John Osborne (and latterly Martin Amis) proved you didn’t have to be anything as dull as ‘likable’ to be a great writer, that you could be outrageous and even loathsome and yet be all the more readable for it.

The complete article is available at this link.

–A literary event from the US-Mexican border offers proof that things may not be as tense in that area as they may seem from constant negative news reports:

Welcome to The River Gull Journal’s First Issue Launch Party! Join us at Los Olvidados Coffee Shoppe & Gallery for an evening of celebration. Be the first to get your hands on the inaugural issue of the first student-led literature magazine at Texas A&M International University. This issue is filled with prose, poetry and stunning artwork from members of the local community. Meet our talented contributors, listen to their work first hand and get to know the talent our local literary scene has to offer. We can’t wait to see you there!

While no details are offered as to the new journal’s contents, the following item from the Q&A in the invitation may offer a hint:

Q. Is there a dress code for the event?
A. Our theme is parties in literature! We encourage all attending to dress in their best literary fashions, from the elaborate parties and balls of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.
The launch party is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 6 April, 6-10pm at 309 Flores Ave, Laredo. My guess is that some one will turn up with a teddy bear.


–An editorial in the Bahamian newspaper The Tribune (published in Nassau) starts with this:

Many years ago when I was a student, I remember being very annoyed by a novel by Evelyn Waugh called “Black Mischief”. I was annoyed because I was of the opinion that the author used a fictional country to illustrate how he thought blacks misgoverned their countries. Now, I am angry that 50 years after Independence my country is being run by politicians who seem to have been schooled by Black Mischief

Here’s a link.

The Critic has posted a review of a new film by Alec Garland called Civil War. The review by Robert Hutton starts with this:

One of the jokes in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop is that when it comes to the civil war in the East African state of Ishmaelia, the Daily Beast newspaper wants victories for the Patriots and defeats for the Rebels. This is more even-handed than it sounds, because both sides say they’re the Patriots. Alex Garland’s Civil War deploys a similar technique. It’s set in an America where the trivialities of a culture war have been replaced by the horrible seriousness of the shooting kind. A hectoring president given to rambling speeches is holed up in the White House having seized an unconstitutional third term, and armies from California and Texas are fighting to remove him…



This entry was posted in Academia, Black Mischief, Brideshead Revisited, Scoop and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *