‘Stop Evelyn Waugh.’
|—||Evelyn Waugh in his unfinished autobiography, A Little Learning (via kpstarbuck)|
“…his days in Arcadia were numbered.”
Evelyn Waugh and C. Aubrey Smith playing cricket.
Never saw this one before.
I believe we are in danger of a similar, stultifying use of the word ‘Facist’. There was recently a petition sent to English writers… asking them to subscribe themselves categorically, as supporters of the republican party in Spain, or as ‘Fascists’. When rioters are imprisoned it is described as a ‘Fascist sentence’; the means test is Fascist; colonization is Fascist; military discipline is Fascist; patriotism is Fascist; Catholicism is Fascist; Buchmanism is Fascist; the ancient Japanese cult of their emperor is Fascist; the Galla tribes’ ancient dearest ion of theirs is Fascist; fox-hunting is Fascist … Is it too late for a call for order?
|—||Evelyn Waugh, writing to the New Statesman on 5 March 1938. (via jshleelee)|
It is truly difficult to convey the admiration I have for this man.
And he would have hated me for it.
Requiéscat in pace.
‘I remember the dinner well - soup of oseille, a sole quite simply cooked in a white wine sauce, a caneton a la presse, a lemon souffle. At the last minute, fearing that the whole thing was too simple for Rex, I added caviar aux blinis. And for the wine I let him give me a bottle of 1906 Montrachet, then at its prime, and with the duck, a clos de beze of 1904…
The cream and hot butter mingled and overflowed, separating each glaucous bead of caviar from its fellows, capping it in white and gold… The soup was delicious after the rich blinis, hot, thin, bitter, frothy.
‘We ate to the music of the press - the crunch of the bones, the drip of the blood and marrow, the tap of the spoon basting the thin slices of breast.’
‘I rejoiced in the Burgundy. It seemed a reminder that the world was an older and better place than Rex knew, that mankind in its long passion had learned another wisdom than his. By chance I met this same wine again, lunching with my wine merchant in St James’s Street in the first Autumn of the war; it had softened and faded in the intervening years, but it still spoke in the pure, authentic accent of its prime, the same words of hope.’
From Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. The book was written during the Second World War, at a time of rationing and great shortage, and Waugh later observed, with a little distaste, that as a consequence that it is laced with a ‘kind of gluttony’
Personally I wouldn’t have it any other way! The book’s excesses are a big part of its charm and this section has always stuck in my mind. Along with the book, the film and TV adaptations, I also have the unabridged audiobook read by Jeremy Irons and often listen to it falling asleep. No matter if I go to bed full, hearing this passage while half asleep is guaranteed to make me hungry again!
George Orwell said that Evelyn Waugh was about as good a novelist as one could be while holding untenable opinions and that last paragraph about the wine pretty much epitomises this for me; it’s a perfect example of the sort of romanticised conservatism that pervades the book, the contempt for the ‘modern world’ that all too often translates into hideous snobbery, but it’s just so perfectly written, every time I find myself drinking in every word, a literary glutton in every sense of the term…
(The image of the duck dish is ‘borrowed’ from a blog called Jet City Gastrophysics, in an excellent post about recreating the recipe.)
I can’t afford a silk shirt; the only liquors at my disposal have ‘Smirnoff’ on the label; and the last time someone vomited on me, the gravest sin I ever imagined doing to them was ‘first-degree murder.’ But it’s the thought that counts. Considering how deeply unglamorous Waugh’s own Oxford career was, I would like to propose a little celebration of our own earnest, varyingly successful attempts to live as members of the Flyte-Ryder brigade.
What: Do you have a bear-shaped eraser named Aloysius? Do you lie in quiet contemplation of your Forever 21 blazer collection? Have you ever swirled cheap rum thoughtfully around a secondhand wine glass? Have you become an old hand at the question, “Evelyn Waugh…. remind me what she wrote?”? If you’re not enough of an aristocrat to beat ‘em, you might as well… post about it in the “You Triedshead Revisited” tag! That means pictures, anecdotes, and whatever else you have to document your quasi-Waugh efforts.
Who: Anyone who would like to be a Harold Acton, but ends up most often an undergraduate Waugh. (i.-likely-e., only me.)
When: Now- infinity. There’s no party like an “I had a best friend once until I let him descend into tortured alcoholism and leave me all alone with with my Catholic guilt” party.
That tag’s looking pretty desolate: As the rooms at Merton Street. That’s why you should post in it.
Questions and nastily disbelieving anons might be addressed to me.
Love or what you will.
|—||‘My History,’ by Evelyn Waugh (aged 7.)|