by Michael Barber
Evelyn Waugh was the finest novelist of his generation in England, the ‘Commanding Officer’ mourned by Graham Greene. He also lived a life less ordinary than most, which, like his alter ego Pinfold’s, became increasingly stylised and anachronistic as the class he had gate-crashed lost its pre-eminence in the Age of the Common Man. By the time he died, halfway through the ‘swinging sixties’, he was regarded as, at best, a museum piece. Then, following the posthumous publication of his riveting Diaries and Letters, he and his work experienced a renaissance that continues to this day, and not just in the English-speaking world. Rather like Hemingway, another writer imprisoned within his own fantasy, Waugh has now achieved mythical status.
Michael Barber examines the man behind the myth, his writings and their significance then and now.
Publication date: 22/02/2013