Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
From the 1940’s until his death in 1966, Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh (waw) served as bête noire for left-wing critics on both sides of the Atlantic, a role he seemed to enjoy. He was born in London on October 28, 1903, the second son of Arthur Waugh, author and managing director of the publishing firm of Chapman and Hall, and Catherine Charlotte Raban. Evelyn’s father and brother, Alec, had attended Sherborne School, but Alec had been expelled and shortly thereafter published The Loom of Youth (1917), a sensational exposé of public school life. Sherborne was thus out of the question for Evelyn, so he attended Lancing College before going up to Oxford University.
In 1925 Waugh left Hertford College, Oxford, with a modest third-class degree in history. As a young man whose father and elder brother were firmly established as professional writers and editors, he might have been thought a natural candidate for a literary career himself. Instead, he tried several fields first—including art, to which he was strongly attracted—before turning to letters. He served brief tenures as a schoolmaster at two obscure public schools. The experience was a profoundly unhappy one, which led to Waugh’s attempted suicide by drowning, yet it also furnished the material for his first novel. In the autumn of 1927, Waugh met Evelyn Gardner. The two...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh was born in Hampstead, a suburb of London, in 1903 to Arthur and Catherine Waugh. He attended Lancing College from 1917 to 1924 and Hertford College, Oxford, from 1921 to 1924, from which he left without taking a degree. Although Waugh turned to writing novels only after aborted careers as a draftsman, a schoolmaster, and a journalist, his family background was literary; his father directed Chapman and Hall publishers until 1929, and his older brother Alec published his first novel, The Loom of Youth, in 1917.
Waugh’s years at Oxford and his restless search for employment during the 1920’s brought him experiences that were later fictionalized in several of his novels. After leaving Oxford in 1924, he enrolled in the Heatherley School of Fine Art, where he aspired to be a draftsman; later in that year, he was apprenticed to a printer for a brief period. His employment as a schoolmaster in Wales in 1925 and in Buckinghamshire in 1926 formed the background for his first novel, Decline and Fall. His struggle to establish himself as a writer and his participation in the endless parties of London’s aristocratic youth during the last years of the 1920’s are fictionalized in his second novel, Vile Bodies.
In 1927, Waugh was engaged to Evelyn Gardner and, despite the objections of her family, married her in 1928 when his financial prospects seemed more secure after the publication of his...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh (waw) was born in London, England, on October 28, 1903, the second son of Arthur Waugh, author and managing director of the publishing firm of Chapman and Hall, and Catherine Charlotte Raban. Evelyn Waugh was five years younger than his brother, Alec Raban Waugh, who would also become a professional writer. The boys grew up in the London suburb of Hampstead, with Evelyn feeling very much overshadowed by his gregarious, good-natured, athletic brother. Evelyn’s writings, his correspondence, and anecdotal evidence clearly document a sibling rivalry that existed, on his part, for the rest of his life, while the elder brother appears to have harbored no such feelings whatsoever. After having been acknowledged for many years as a more eminent writer than his brother, Evelyn still bristled when an article suggested that Alec had sold more books than he.
Evelyn’s father and brother had attended Sherborne School, but Alec had been dismissed following a sexual misadventure. He then made matters worse, from the Sherborne point of view, by publishing The Loom of Youth (1917), a sensational exposé of public school life. Interestingly, Alec Waugh would go on to write more than forty books but would not duplicate the success of this first novel until the publication of Island in the Sun(1956). At any rate, his explosion...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Evelyn Waugh’s earliest novels were received, and praised, as farces and amusing romps. His essential seriousness of purpose was ignored or misunderstood. He was long viewed as a talented entertainer whose language and syntax were flawless and whose plots were delightfully inventive. As the body of his work grew and as he reiterated his theme of the spiritual emptiness of modern life, however, critics were forced to take note. Eventually, to those who shared his view of humanity’s fallen nature, who shared his passions and his fears, he became much more than an entertainer. He became a kind of witty Jeremiah, prophesying the end of grace, both divine and earthly, from behind a mask of scornful laughter.
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Evelyn Waugh was born on October 28, 1903, in Hampstead, London, England, the son of Arthur (an editor and publisher) and Catherine Charlotte (Raban) Waugh. He was enrolled at Lancing, a preparatory school, in 1917, where he wrote poetry, edited the school magazine, and was president of the debating society.
Waugh won a scholarship to Hertford College, Oxford, in 1922. At Oxford, he wrote poetry and stories for undergraduate magazines but, because of financial difficulties, he left the university in 1924 without graduating. He enrolled at Heatherley’s Art School, and in 1925 he became a secondary school teacher in Wales and then in Buckinghamshire, England.
In 1927, Waugh married Evelyn Gardner. In 1928, his first novel, Decline and Fall, appeared. This was a satire on the English upper classes and the English educational system. While Waugh was writing his second novel, Vile Bodies (1930), he discovered that his wife was having an affair, so he filed for a divorce.
In 1930, he converted to Roman Catholicism, and he spent much of his time between 1929 and 1937 traveling. He visited the Mediterranean, Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia), and North Africa, the West Indies and British Guiana, as well as Brazil, Mexico, and the Arctic. He reported on the Italian-Ethiopian war in 1935 and wrote several accounts of his travels, including Remote People (1931), about his African journey, and Waugh in Abyssinia...
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IntroductionEvelyn Waugh’s biting attacks on British society and its mores were matched only by his love for them. Therein lies the unique achievement of Waugh’s work, which satirized British aristocratic life with great affection. His seminal novel, Brideshead Revisited, perfectly captures this seeming dichotomy. The expansive novel, regularly ranked among the century’s greatest, is a kind of soap opera writ large, with wry observations about its upper-crust characters. At the same time, it is heralded for perfectly capturing the pre-World War II moment in Britain. Questions of faith, which were so crucial to Waugh’s beliefs, also figure prominently in the epic novel. Ultimately, perhaps it was Waugh’s faith that allowed him to balance his blatant criticisms with knowing warmth.
- Though his father and older brother were writers and editors, Waugh did not immediately take up the pen. He first tried being an artist.
- Despite the alleged homosexuality of his youth, Waugh was married twice. His first (and quite short-lived) marriage was to a woman whose name also happened to be Evelyn.
- Waugh wrote three novels, dubbed the Sword of Honour trilogy, about his experiences during World War II.
- In his adulthood, Waugh became a devout and conservative Catholic. He was very vocal about his dissatisfaction with the changes instituted by the Church in the 1960s.
- Waugh put out an extraordinary body of work during his lifetime, but that was only a portion of his writing. Waugh’s diaries and correspondence were released posthumously.
Evelyn (Arthur St. John) Waugh Criticism
Evelyn Waugh Criticism
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 1)
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 107)
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 13)
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 19)
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 3)
Evelyn Waugh Criticism (Vol. 8)
Black Mischief Summary - Evelyn Waugh
Sword of Honour Summary - Evelyn Waugh
The Loved One Summary - Evelyn Waugh
The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold Summary - Evelyn Waugh
The religious issues appearing in Brideshead Revisited concerned Evelyn Waugh from a relatively young age. Born Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh on October 28, 1903, in the comfortable London suburb of Hampstead, England, Evelyn was the youngest son of Arthur Waugh, a devout member of the Anglican Church. He was educated at Lancing, a preparatory school that specialized in educating the sons of Anglican clergy. Like all students at Lancing, Evelyn was required to attend chapel every morning and evening and three times on Sundays. According to Waugh in his unfinished autobiography, A Little Learning: The Early Years, he does not remember thinking that these requirements were unreasonable.
Arthur Waugh worked as a publisher, critic, author, and editor, which provided Evelyn with daily exposure to books and writing. In addition, Evelyn's father, together with his mother, Catherine Charlotte Raban Waugh, regularly read aloud to both their sons. At age seven, Evelyn had already written a short story, and by age nine, with a group of friends, he had produced a magazine. Eventually, his older brother, Alec, went on to write best-selling novels and travel books.
Waugh's years as an adult were remarkably similar to the experiences of Charles Ryder, the protagonist in Brideshead Revisited. By the time Waugh left Lancing for Oxford, he reported that he was no longer a Christian, thanks in part to an instructor who encouraged him to think...
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