Evelyn Waugh

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh /wɔː/ (28 October 1903 – 10 April 1966), known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer. His best-known works include his early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), his novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and his trilogy of Second World War novels collectively known as Sword of Honour (1952–61). Waugh is widely recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the 20th century.

The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford, and worked briefly as a schoolmaster before becoming a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society that never left him. In the 1930s he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent; he was reporting from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War, first in the Royal Marines and later in the Royal Horse Guards. All these experiences, and the wide range of people he encountered, were used in Waugh's fiction, generally to humorous effect; even his own mental breakdown in the early 1950s, brought about by misuse of drugs, was fictionalised.

Waugh had converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930, after the failure of his first marriage. His traditionalist stance led him to oppose strongly all attempts to reform the Church; the changes brought about in the wake of the Second Vatican Council of 1962–65, particularly the introduction of the vernacular Mass, greatly disturbed him. This blow, together with a growing dislike for the welfare state culture of the postwar world and a decline in his health, saddened his final years, although he continued to write. To the public at large he generally displayed a mask of indifference, but he was capable of great kindness to those he considered his friends, many of whom remained devoted to him throughout his life. After his death in 1966, he acquired a new following through film and television versions of his work, such as Brideshead Revisited in 1982.

Read more about Evelyn Waugh:  Character and Opinions, References in Other Media, Notes and References

Famous quotes by evelyn waugh:

    One forgets words as one forgets names. One’s vocabulary needs constant fertilizing or it will die.
    Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)

    Almost all crime is due to the repressed desire for aesthetic expression.
    Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)

    Don’t give your opinions about Art and the Purpose of Life. They are of little interest and, anyway, you can’t express them. Don’t analyse yourself. Give the relevant facts and let your readers make their own judgments. Stick to your story. It is not the most important subject in history but it is one about which you are uniquely qualified to speak.
    Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)

    We can trace almost all the disasters of English history to the influence of Wales.
    Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)

    If, for instance, they have heard something from the postman, they attribute it to ‘a semi-official statement’; if they have fallen into conversation with a stranger at a bar, they can conscientiously describe him as ‘a source that has hitherto proved unimpeachable.’ It is only when the journalist is reporting a whim of his own, and one to which he attaches minor importance, that he defines it as the opinion of ‘well-informed circles.’
    Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966)