Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903, second son of Arthur Waugh, publisher and literary critic, and brother of Alec Waugh, the popular novelist. He was educated at Lancing and Hertford College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. In 1928 he published his first work, a life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and his first novel, Decline and Fall, which was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). During these years he travelled extensively in most parts of Europe, the Near East, Africa and tropical America, and published a number of travel books, including Labels (1930), Remote People, (1931), Ninety-Two Days (1934) and Waugh in Abyssinia (1936). In 1939 he was commissioned in the Royal Marines and later transferred to the Royal Horse Guards, serving in the Middle East and in Yugoslavia. In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. When the Going was Good and The Loved One preceded Men at Arms, which came out in 1952, the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. In 1964 he published his last book, A Little Learning, the first volume of an autobiography. Evelyn Waugh was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1930 and his biography of the Elizabethan Jesuit martyr, Edmund Campion, was awarded the Hawthornden Prize in 1936. In 1959 he published the official Life of Ronald Knox. For many years he lived with his wife and six children in the West Country. He died in 1966.
Academy award winner Jeremy Irons demonstrates impressive skill in his performance of Brideshead Revisited. From the charming yet doomed Lord Sebastian Flyte to the absurd, stuttering Anthony Blanche, Irons manages to capture the many nuances and subtleties of each character. Waugh's most successful novel, narrated by Charles Ryder, this classic of 20th-century literature re-creates a vanished world and peoples it with a vivid and believable cast. The setting is Oxford and Brideshead Castle in the 1920s through the early 1940s. From the beginning, Ryder is captivated by the fascinating Sebastian, second son of Lord Marchmain, who seems to lead a charmed life filled with friends, wealth, and a noble family. But as Charles's friendship with Sebastian deepens, Charles is pulled into a closer relationship with the Marchmains a family with more than one dark secret to hide. Highly recommended for all libraries. Theresa Connors, Arkansas Tech Univ., Russellville Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this classic tale of British life between the World Wars, Waugh parts company with the satire of his earlier works to examine affairs of the heart. Charles Ryder finds himself stationed at Brideshead, the family seat of Lord and Lady Marchmain. Exhausted by the war, he takes refuge in recalling his time spent with the heirs to the estate before the warÄyears spent enthralled by the beautiful but dissolute Sebastian and later in a more conventional relationship with Sebastian's sister Julia. Ryder portrays a family divided by an uncertain investment in Roman Catholicism and by their confusion over where the elite fit in the modern world. Although Waugh was considered by many to be more successful as a comic than as a wistful commentator on human relationships and faith, this novel was made famous by a 1981 BBC TV dramatization. Irons's portrayal of Ryder catapulted Irons to stardom, and in this superb reading his subtle, complete characterizations highlight Waugh's ear for the aristocratic mores of the time. Fervent Anglophiles will be thrilled by this excellent rendition of a favorite; Irons's reading saves this dinosaur from being suffocated by its own weight. (Dec. 2000) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Waugh's most deeply felt novel . . . "Brideshead Revisited "tells
an absorbing story in imaginative terms . . . Mr. Waugh is very
definitely an artist, with something like a genius for precision
and clarity not surpassed by any novelist writing in English in his
time." -"New York Times"
"A many-faceted book . . . Beautifully [written] by one of the most exhilarating stylists of our time." -"Newsweek"
"First and last an enchanting story . . . "Brideshead Revisited" has a magic that is rare in current literature. It is a world in itself, and the reader lives in it and is loath to leave it when the last page is turned." -"Saturday Review"
"Evelyn Waugh's most successful novel . . . A memorable work of art."
-from the Introduction by Frank Kermode