Evelyn Waugh

BookEvelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh

Writers and Their Work


December 14th, 2018



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Everyone knows how funny Evelyn Waugh is. One of his finest comic creations was his own increasingly rebarbative public persona – a self-confessed ‘front of pomposity mitigated by indiscretion, that was as hard, bright and antiquated as a cuirass’. No wonder new biographies of Waugh are popular. The life and work cannot be separated. Gathered productively at the writer’s desk are the chaotic and often bizarre details of Waugh’s own life, what he called the ‘adroit jigsaw’ of his unobtrusively elegant aesthetic structures, and his moral coherence. This study shows how Waugh transformed his own experiences into painfully comic, brilliantly constructed novels. They are works, in his own words, of ‘elegance and variety of contrivance’. Ann Pasternak Slater has written an ingenious and engaging study of the relationship between Waugh’s life and work, between his sharp moral vision and Dionysiac comic genius. She focuses on Waugh’s entire fictional oeuvre in a book notable for its intelligent sympathy.


'There is no doubt that Pasternak Slater’s analysis of [Waugh's] oeuvre is a superb piece of work. It should become a classic, enduring study.'
William Boyd, The Guardian

'Ann Pasternak Slater usefully reverses the main tendency in decades of critical reaction to Evelyn Waugh. Most studies focus on his early works; Pasternak Slater devotes more space to his later novels and demonstrates their increasing complexity in relation to Waugh’s life, historical events, and aesthetic considerations. Comprehensive and well written, this volume is a very welcome addition to the handful of good books about Waugh. Highly recommended.'
John Howard Wilson, editor of Evelyn Waugh Studies


Author Information

Ann Pasternak Slater is a Senior Research Fellow at St Anne’s College, Oxford. She has taught English Literature at Oxford for forty years, specialising in Renaissance and Twentieth Century Literature. She is on the Editorial Board of the 42-volume scholarly edition of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh, to be published by Oxford University Press and is editing its volume of the Complete Short Fiction.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover 1
Half Title 2
Title Page 4
Copyright 5
Biographical Outline10
1 Decline and Fall24
2 Vile Bodies33
3 Black Mischief47
4 A Handful of Dust58
5 Scoop75
6 Work Suspended88
7 Put Out More Flags102
8 Brideshead Revisited117
9 The Loved One147
10 Helena157
11 Men at Arms172
12 Officers and Gentlemen188
13 The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold219
14 Towards Unconditional Surrender244
15 Unconditional Surrender and Sword of Honour265
Appendix A297
Appendix B298
Select Bibliography334