Author Evelyn Waugh’s Birthday

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Sounds like a typical struggling-artist’s life. What do you expect from a guy with a woman’s name. Interesting.

(Taken from The Writer’s Almanac)
It’s the birthday of Evelyn Waugh (books by this author), born in London, England in 1903. His family was affluent, and he was upset when he found out that he couldn’t attend the same prestigious school as his father and brother. He wasn’t allowed in because his brother, Alec Waugh, had a homosexual relationship, was dismissed from the school, and then wrote a book about it. So Evelyn went to a less prestigious school, where he thought all his classmates were unsophisticated. Then he went to Hertford, one of the Oxford Colleges, where he did art and wrote and drank, and neglected his academics. When someone asked him if he’d done any sports at college, he replied, “I drank for Hertford.” He left Oxford without a degree. He tried teaching and he hated it, he was in debt, so he attempted suicide by drowning himself in the ocean, but he got stung by a jellyfish so he ran back out. He decided to give his life another chance, and he wrote his first novel, Decline and Fall(1928). It’s about an innocent schoolteacher named Paul Pennyfeather who is expelled from Oxford for running across campus without his trousers, and has no choice but to become a schoolteacher. He’s surrounded by bigots, drunks, and pedophiles, and he almost marries the mother of one of his students, but it turns out she makes her money trafficking in brothels in South America. Evelyn Waugh went on to write many novels, including Brideshead Revisited (1945).

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Published in: on October 28, 2015 at 11:26pm10  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow – what a bio – I never knew much about him. He wrote a book about St. Helena that I think would be interesting to read.

    • I haven’t read any of his stuff, but I have heard the “Brideshead Revisited” title. It looks like he wrote many books.

  2. Fascinating, C! What uncivilized ways we had back in those “civilized” days for treating people, huh? We’ve come a long way…not far enough, but still…

    • You’re right, some things, yes, some things, not so much.


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