“A Biographical Sketch of one of England’s foremost and greatest writers, one for all times and all generations, Evelyn Waugh”
My dear thinkers, readers and all lovers of literature and all men and women of all views, thoughts and opinions, I bid you and ask you to join me in another voyage of intellectual discovery where you can join in critical thinking and can join with me in the effort to gain truth and facts. I welcome you in this quest and task of attaining and coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at what is valid and authentic in this most confused world and do come with me to tear apart the curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts.
Today I have the honor and privilege of speaking of and presenting the life and works of one of the greatest of English writers and one of her greatest novelists, the author of many of the greatest literary treasures, books once begun cannot be put down and once read through engage our minds spirits and souls as few works of prose can ever do.
I am a great fan of English and American literature, such poets Keats, Shelley, Byron, A.E. Housman, T.S. Eliot, Edna Millay and many others as well as novelists such as Conrad, Jane Austen, Melville, Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis, Thackeray, and Sir Walter Scott. When I read these authors, my mind and consciousness are raised to a different level and I acquire in reading them and knowing these authors a different level of understanding and in coming to know them am lifted up intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. I will never regret the time spent in reading them and being exposed to them and absorbing their greatness, despite our American society telling us on a constant basis that the time spent with them has no practical value as producing no income. A life without this great literature is a life cheated and wasted of what these greatest of minds have to offer.
Evelyn Waugh was born in 1903 and died in 1966. He was the author of novels and travel books, and was a journalist. His most famous works are the early satires such as Decline and Fall, the novel Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honor Trilogy.
He was educated at Oxford and worked as a school master before becoming a full-time writer. He travelled as a newspaper correspondent in the 1930s and served in the British Armed Forces in the Second World War. He became a Catholic in 1930 and took up a traditional position. After his death he acquired a new group of readers through film and television versions of his works.
His father, after attending the Sherborne School and New College Oxford, began a career in publishing and as a literary critic. He married in 1893 and had two sons. The family moved in 1907 and Evelyn was for six years a day pupil at the Heath Mount Prep School. In 1917 he was sent to Lancing College and in 1922 won a scholarship to Hertford College in Oxford. Waugh lost his scholarship, completing only eight terms residence rather than the nine required, and could not return to Oxford for his degree. In 1925 he began teaching at a boys’ school, and for the next two years taught at schools while continuing to write. He became engaged in 1927. He published the Rossetti biography in 1928 and also published Decline and Fall in that same year, to great praise. He was married that same year. He published Vile Bodies in 1930 to great commercial success. In 1930 he became a Catholic. He represented several newspapers for the coronation of Haile Selassie and wrote as a result of a journey through British East Africa and the Belgian Congo the novels Remote People (1931) and Black Mischief (1932). His novel, A Handful of Dust as well as his travel account, Ninety-Two Days, were published in 1934. He obtained an annulment of his first marriage in 1936 and in 1937 married Laura Herbert. His novel Scoop was published in 1938 to wide critical acclaim. Put Out More Flags, published in 1942, sold well. He served in the British armed forces in the Second World War, in the Royal Marines and as a commando. He obtained three months’ leave to write and complete Brideshead Revisited, which was published in 1945. He spent the next seven years in London and travelling. In 1952 he published Men at Arms, the first of his war trilogy, and then published the second in the series, Officers and Gentlemen. Helena, published in 1950, was not received well by the public. By 1953 his popularity as a writer was declining. In 1953 he published his novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold. He produced his final travel book, A Tourist in Africa, in 1959 and published the last of his war trilogy in 1961, Unconditional Surrender. In 1964 Waugh was a conservative and believed in class divisions and his Catholicism was fundamental to his thinking. He has been criticized for racial and antisemitic prejudices. He died of heart failure at age 62, having published the first volume of his autobiography, A Little Learning. His novel, A Handful of Dust, later was regarded as a masterpiece.
I have always enjoyed the work of Waugh, although I am more of a Democrat and Christian who rejects class divisions than perhaps he would like or agree with. His novel Brideshead Revisited, along with The Loved One, are among my very great favorites, but I do continue to enjoy his war novels and Black Mischief. His works are engaging and are good reads, and I continue to read and am captivated by his work. Whatever his character flaws, he is very great as an artist and I urge all to get his books and read them. They all are the work of an artistic genius and master of English prose.
I am indebted to the Wikipedia article on this writer for the content of this essay.