Happy Surprises: the novel as art, as revealed in Evelyn Waugh's reviews 1928-1931

Gallagher, Donatus (2017) Happy Surprises: the novel as art, as revealed in Evelyn Waugh's reviews 1928-1931. In: [Presented at the Evelyn Waugh as Reader, Writer, Collector Symposium]. From: Evelyn Waugh: Reader, Writer, Collector Symposium, 5-6 May 2017, San Marino, CA, USA.

[img] PDF (Accepted Version) - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: https://soundcloud.com/thehuntington/hap...


[Extract] A 1930 advertisement for Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies clevery portrays the novel as a 'tragedy in which comic relief overwhelmingly predominates' and goes on to hail this second novel as 'an important stage in Evelyn Waugh's development as a serious artist'.¹ Now, in 1930 many readers would have been surprised to see the accolade, 'serious artist', applied to a young comic novelist, and Waugh himself apparently repudiated the title when he described Vile Bodies to Harold Acton as 'a welter of sex and snobbery written siimply in the hope of selling some copies.'² Added reason to doubt the 'seriousness' of his art in 1930 emerges thirty-five years later when Waugh writes: '[Vile Bodies] was a totally unplanned novel. I had the facility at the age of25 to sit down at my table, set a few characters on the move, write 3000 words a day and note with surprise what happened next.'³ He even produced a witness to his 'surprise' at what his characters got up to: a young naval officer was present when Waugh blurted out his discovery that Angela Lyne of Put Out More Flags had been drinking.⁴ On a more sober note, in a very polite letter responding to Frederick Stopp's analysis of Men at Arms,⁵ Waugh writes: 'so many ofthe points you make were hitherto unrecognized by myself [...] Men at Arms was written [...] instinctively [...] You have revealed to me a great deal that must have occurred in my subconscious mind [...] much of the counterpoint was unconscious on my part.'⁶ And he teased the public by declaring, for example, that he didn't think it 'clever to write brilliant novels. Just a trick like balancing a penny on a pin'.⁷

Item ID: 52870
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 22 May 2018 01:53
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1999 Other Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 199999 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 5
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page