May Day Roundup

–In a recent report of the results of a football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid, the Guardian’s reporter Barney Ronay brings an Evelyn Waugh character into the discussion. Here’s the opening:

It turns out Pep Guardiola was right after all. Manchester City’s pursuit of the double-treble will now remain “a hypothetical dream”.  This was Pep’s own excellent phrase before [last] Wednesday’s second leg against Real Madrid, a formulation that suggests even Guardiola’s dreams are full of theory, algebra, hypotheticals, like a footballing version of Evelyn Waugh’s professor Silenus, the modernist architect who doesn’t sleep but instead lies in the dark for eight hours with his eyes shut doing high-speed calculations, before rising at dawn to design another machine-age masterpiece…

City lost in the second round of penalty shootouts. If you need more details, here’s a link.

–The Evening Standard has an article by Mary Lussiana about a wine tour through southern France. This is entitled “A FOODIE ROAD TRIP FROM SOUTHERN PORTUGAL TO FRANCE’S JURA MOUNTAINS.” Here’s an excerpt about a stop in Bordeaux:

…Rain followed us most of the way on our nine-hour journey to our next stop in Bordeaux. But as we drove in under the stone gateway to Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey, […] the sun cast its evening light onto the ancient mellow stone. Parts of the Château date back to the 13th century, and vines have been grown there since 1618. They had a cameo role in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, when Sebastian Flyte arrives to the Oxford college rooms of Charles Ryder saying, “I’ve got a motor car and a basket of strawberries and a bottle of Château Peyraguey….It’s heaven with strawberries.”…

–The film website has a published a list of the film/TV adaptations of Waugh’s novels. This is part of a series on British novel adaptations. This is fairly comprehensive and contains brief lists of characters, plot summaries and other production details. It is fairly complete and offers examples of both versions in some instances where there have been two, e.g., of Brideshead and Decline and Fall but misses in two other cases of multiple adaptations: Sword of Honour and Scoop. Oddly, no one has ever done a film/TV adaptation of Black Mischief, Put Out More Flags, Helena or The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. Or if there were attempts at adapting these novels, they seem to have disappeared without a trace.

–In another posting with a TV connection, veteran TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh is asked to name his favorite musical compositions. Here’s his number 1 choice:

Geoffrey Burgon – Theme from Brideshead Revisited
This BAFTA-nominated score from John Mortimer’s 1981 TV adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel is a breathtakingly elegant piece. Wistful oboe and trumpet match with regal horns, conjuring up the pomp of Brideshead alongside the demise of Lord Marchmain and his family.

“A reminder of that dazzling original TV series, rich in mood and atmosphere,” Alan says. “I can still feel the agonies of unrequited love!”

For the complete list, see this link to the website

–Finally, the Jesuit magazine America has reposted a 2013 article by Jon M Sweeney entitled “Waugh’s Head Revisited: A writer who deserves to be remembered.” Here are the opening paragraphs:

Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) published 14 novels between 1928 and 1961. Another went unpublished and is counted among his juvenilia, and yet another was released only in a limited edition of several hundred copies. Of the 14, several were widely acclaimed bestsellers in their day, including Brideshead Revisited (1945), Scoop (1938) and A Handful of Dust (1934). He also wrote three volumes of biography (on Rossetti, Campion and Knox, all lesser figures today), eight mostly forgettable books of travel writing even by Waugh’s estimation, one volume of memoir (A Little Learning), short stories, diaries and letters and various essays and journalism, much of it written originally for the London Spectator.

Seventy-five years ago Waugh was one of the world’s most popular writers of fiction. A convert to Catholicism like his friend Graham Greene, Waugh had less aversion to the label “Catholic writer.” For Waugh, joining the church was the result of an investigation into truth; it also came immediately after his first marriage ended. For Greene, it was always more of a matter of coming to terms with evil and sin, his own and others, and originated in his desire to marry a Catholic woman as a young man. Waugh couldn’t sound less like Greene, for instance, when he writes to a friend in Sept. 1964: “Do you believe in the Incarnation & Redemption in the full historical sense in which you believe in the battle of El Alamein? That’s important. Faith is not a mood.”

Waugh’s longtime publishers on both sides of the Atlantic—including Little, Brown and Company here in the United States in December 2012—have spent the last two years rereleasing much of his oeuvre in hopes that interest in his writing will revive. Will it? I wonder. Does anyone read Evelyn Waugh anymore?

The historical books are not great history, and the travel books do not work well as travelogues. No matter, as these are not part of the reintroduction plan of Waugh’s U.S. publishers. Only the novels are still read today…

Here’s a link to the complete article.

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