Evelyn Waugh: Vol. 2

Evelyn Waugh: Vol. 2 : No Abiding City, 1939-66

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This second volume of Martin Stannad's biography of Evelyn Waugh, following on from "The Early Years: 1903-1939", covers the period 1939 to 1966. It completes the portrait of Waugh and ranges from his war experiences to the writing of "Brideshead" and the "Sword of Honour" trilogy and ends with his death in 1966. This book looks at the private man behind Waugh's masks of burlesque and includes letters from a range of individuals including Cyril Connolly, Lady Diana Cooper and Graham Greene.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 504 pages
  • 130 x 197mm | 493g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Flamingo
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • 16pp illustrations
  • 0586086803
  • 9780586086803

Review Text

The second and final installment of Stannard's monumental, definitive biography (Evelyn Waugh, 1987) of one of the 20th century's most accomplished - and, apparently, misanthropic - writers. Stannard (English/Univ. of Leicester) incorporates hundreds of previously unpublished documents and unreported interviews in picking up Waugh's tale on the eve of WW II. Britain plunges into the war, and Waugh wangles his way into one of the elite (i.e., aristocrat-led) military units. Thus, army life did nothing to temper Waugh's all-pervasive hauteur. His military career, however, was little short of disastrous, as the writer - surly, snobbish, and almost perpetually soused - was deemed unfit to command a regiment, a fact that rankled and eventually embittered him. With war's end, Waugh's moat subtly wrought novel, Brideshead Revisited, was published to widespread acclaim both in Britain and the US. Royalties poured in, and the author was launched on a spendthrift's path to penury. The Loved One, a satire of America's bizarre funerary fashions, proved an even greater success in 1948, and soon Waugh was moving in exalted circles. His fellow-Catholic author Graham Greene was an intimate; Thomas Merton confided in him; Ian Fleming's wife, Ann, according to Stannard no slouch herself at backbiting, kept Waugh supplied with vicious gossip. An especially engrossing section here deals with Waugh's bout with psychosis, during which he heard voices accusing him of worthlessness and perversity. Stannard's depiction of his subject's unconventional home life is equally revealing. A no-holds-barred yet ultimately moving portrait of a major literary talent. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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