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Book Description

Octavo (232 x 153mm), pp. xx, 664, [4 (blank)]. Illustrations of Waugh’s letters in the text, some full-page. (A few spots on edges of bookblock, inkmark [?caused in production] on p. 529.) Original red cloth lettered in gilt on the spine, dustwrapper. lower panel illustrated with a portrait of Waugh by Henry Lamb. (Dustwrapper price-clipped, slightly creased at the edges, and slightly faded on spine and part of lower panel.) A very good copy in a very good dustwrapper.
Dealer Notes

First edition. ‘Evelyn Waugh was the last of the great letter-writers, and his witty, elegant correspondence to a wide circle of friends contains more than a touch of malice. In the 1920s Waugh wrote to a schoolfriend about his undergraduate escapades at Oxford and to Harold Acton and Henry Green of his unhappy jobs, his literary plans and the break-up of his first marriage. In the 1930s his boisterous letters to Lady Mary Lygon recount his successes, social life and travels in Ethiopia and South America. During the war, writing to his second wife, Laura Herbert, he revealed the strength of his love for her more vividly than has appeared elsewhere, as well as recording the events that were to be turned into his war novels. With peace came the funniest of all his writings, inspired by worldly, fashionable women such as Ann Fleming, Lady Diana Cooper and Nancy Mitford. Waugh’s main concern is to amuse, to describe the events of his life in a way that will give pleasure – and in this he is triumphantly successful. Waugh has at the same time created a record of his life more formal than diaries but more intimate than autobiography, and thus more revealing and truthful than either’ (dustwrapper blurb).



Waugh’s letters were skilfully and sympathetically edited by his friend Mark Amory, who has produced a scholarly edition; each section is prefaced by a brief introduction, and concise but informative footnotes elucidate references in the letters. The first appendix reprints a correspondence between Waugh and Hugh Trevor-Roper on Roman Catholicism and recusants (e.g., EW: ‘One honourable course is open to Mr Trevor-Roper. He should change his name and seek a livelihood at Cambridge’ (unwittingly anticipating Trevor-Roper’s mastership of Peterhouse College, Cambridge as Lord Dacre); HT-R: ‘since my family were recusants for two hundred years while Mr. Waugh’s Catholicism is, I think, still rather crude and green, I may perhaps claim a finer sense than he’), and the second provides thumbnail sketches of the correspondents and dramatis personae. The volume concludes with a comprehensive index.

Author WAUGH, (Arthur) Evelyn St John.
Date 1980
Publisher London: Morrison & Gibbs Ltd for Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Price: £17.50

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