12 July, 2008

Evelyn Waugh


Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English writer, best known for such satirical novels as Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop, A Handful of Dust and The Loved One, as well as for broader and more personal works, such as Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour trilogy, that are influenced by his own experiences and his conservative and Catholic viewpoints. Many of Waugh's novels depict British aristocracy and high society, which he satirizes but to which, paradoxically, he was also strongly attracted. In addition, he wrote short stories, three biographies, and the first volume of an unfinished autobiography. His travel writings and his extensive diaries and correspondence have also been published.

Waugh's health declined in later life. He put on weight, and the sleeping draughts he continued to take, combined with alcohol, cigars and little exercise, weakened his health. His productivity also declined, and his output was uneven. His last published work, Basil Seal Rides Again, revisiting the characters of his earliest satirical works, did not meet critical or popular approval, but is still read today. At the same time, he continued as a journalist and was well received.

Evelyn Waugh died, aged 62, on 10 April 1966, after attending a Latin Mass on Easter Sunday. He suffered a heart attack in the lavatory of his home, Combe Florey.

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