The Decline and Fall of Evelyn Waugh

The Decline and Fall of Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (1952–61). Waugh is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.

The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing College and then at Hertford College, Oxford, and briefly worked as a schoolmaster before he became a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society. In the 1930s, he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent in which capacity he reported from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War (1939–1945), first in the Royal Marines and then in the Royal Horse Guards. He was a perceptive writer who used the experiences and the wide range of people he encountered in his works of fiction, generally to humorous effect.

Decline and Fall – First edition cover

He wrote drafts in ink on lined paper. He wrote quickly as he needed to make time for a hectic social life.

Well, that’s me buggered then!

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9 responses to “The Decline and Fall of Evelyn Waugh

  1. I can’t believe how little I knew about this chap until you mentioned him to me the other day. What a fascinating chap. I love him.

  2. I love Evelyn Waugh’s humour, and I’m really enjoying the BBC production of Decline and Fall.
    Interesting little insight into his approach to first drafts.

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