Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited
Graham Greene hailed Evelyn Waugh as “the greatest novelist of my generation”, yet reckoned by Hilaire Belloc to have been possessed by the devil. Waugh’s literary reputation has risen steadily ever since Greene’s assessment in 1966. Philip Eade’s biography takes a fresh look at the whole of Waugh’s life, presenting the most revealing and in some cases unknown events of his 63 years in a stimulating and highly readable narrative. It reviews the extent to which his various experiences and relationships informed his fiction, and describes his life in the broader context of early to mid 20th-century social history.
Eade takes account of the most recent Waugh scholarship and makes use of extensive never before seen primary sources that cast new light on many of the key phases and themes of Waugh’s life: his difficult relationship with his embarrassingly sentimental father and favoured elder brother, and the burning ambition they inadvertently provoked in him; his love affair with Alastair Graham at Oxford; his disastrous first marriage to Evelyn Gardner and its complicated annulment; his momentous conversion to Catholicism; his complex interest in the aristocracy, and what the aristocrats made of him; his chequered wartime career and fateful enmity with Lord Lovat; his nervous breakdown; his strangely successful marriage to Laura Herbert; his unconventional attitude to his six children; his sharp tongue; his devastating wit; his egomania; and the love, fear and loathing that he variously inspired.
About the author
Philip Eade’s two previous books (Sylvia and Young Prince Philip) have demonstrated his credentials as one of our best biographers and chroniclers of 20th-century upper-class social history. He lives in London.