A Little Order
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A Little Order : Selected Journalism

By (author) Evelyn Waugh , Volume editor Donat Gallagher

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Whether celebrating Hogarth or savaging Hollywood, mocking modern manners or defending traditional English architecture, inviting readers to 'come inside' the Catholic Church or expressing his contempt for modish Marxism and American-style religion, Evelyn Waugh's journalism is sparkling, sometimes vitriolic and always full of good sense. In this wonderful selection, he explores his Oxford youth, his unexpected conversion, his literary enthusiasms (from P.G. Wodehouse to Graham Greene) and the perils of basing fictional characters on real people. Decades after their publication, these pieces still retain their capacity to delight, to surprise and to shock.

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  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 12.7mm | 158.76g
  • 06 Apr 2000
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • London
  • English
  • 0141182938
  • 9780141182933
  • 320,332

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Author Information

Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. He was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). Waugh travelled extensively and also wrote several travel books, as well as a biography of Edmund Campion and Ronald Knox. Other famous works include his Sword of Honour trilogy, and Brideshead Revisited (1945).

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Review text

A small, judicious selection of Waugh's journalistic pieces, 1917-1964 - only a pendant to the recently-published diaries and letters, perhaps, but a display of the author's range without his excesses. Under "Myself" are the youthful, impudent pieces (mocking "the plague of 'good taste,'" satirizing the course of literary careers - but asking, already, "Why Glorify Youth?") and the late laments ("Why Hollywood Is a Term of Disparagement," "I See Nothing But Boredom. . . Everywhere"). The "Aesthete" brings some of Waugh's keenest observation - of social and cultural modes - and his most evocative descriptions; surveying the monuments of "our Augustan age of architecture," he conjures up "A lovely house where an aged colonel plays wireless music to an obese retriever." The "Man of Letters" finds him analyzing Henry Green's Living, paying witty tribute to Osbert Sitwell, celebrating the "unique" career of Alfred Duggar, and writing about Max Beerbohm with elegance and tact. The pieces that represent Waugh the "Conservative" demonstrate his perturbations - a denunciation of a visit by Tito, the observation that "In general a man is best fitted to the tasks he has seen his father perform" - without bombast. And Gallagher's introduction to the "Catholic" writings puts Waugh's Faith in sympathetic perspective - as do the writings chosen: "Come Inside," his own undogmatic account of how he became a Catholic; "Edith Stein," a meticulous, restrained account of a convert. Throughout, there is evidence of Waugh's sense of structure and awareness of style, his enthusiasms as well as his prejudices. Whereas the diaries and letters may put off readers, this is more likely to encourage them to explore further. (Kirkus Reviews)

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