Monday, February 29, 2016

The Beauty of Waugh's Malice Revisited

Evelyn Waugh. Made it on to Time magazine's list of notable women.

Butler Shaffer writes:
Evelyn Waugh: What a Gal!
Whoever wrote or edited Time magazine’s list of notable female writers revealed their lack of depth in literary studies. Perhaps they majored in “Feminist Studies” and couldn’t find the time to discover that Evelyn Waugh was a male.
Time has now posted this correction:
 Correction: The original version of this story included Evelyn Waugh, who was a man.

Can't imagine that Waugh would have made it on the list if this was known about him either (From Wikipedia):

[H]is dislike for the welfare state culture of the postwar world...darkened his final years.

The Time gender slip appears to be a case of generational institutional memory loss. The April 22, 1966 Time obituary of Waugh got it right:
[A] fierce peculiar genius who, in the 40 years before his death last week at 62, achieved recognition as the grand old mandarin of modern British prose and as a satirist whose skill at sticking pens in people rates him a roomy cell in the murderers’ row (Swift, Pope, Wilde, Shaw) of English letters. In 15 novels of cunning construction and lapidary eloquence, Evelyn Waugh developed a wickedly hilarious and yet fundamentally religious assault on a century that, in his opinion, had ripped up the nourishing taproot of tradition and let wither all the dear things of the world. ...Reflected in his icy eye, a mad world knew that it was mad,..
 His novels survive and will continue to survive as long as there are readers who can savor what Critic V. S. Pritchett calls “the beauty of his malice.”
It is only appropriate to conclude this post on the Time error with a relevant taste of the beauty of Waugh's malice.

“But these young people have such an intelligent, knowledgeable surface, and then the crust suddenly breaks and you look down into the depths of confusion you didn't know existed.”
― Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited


No comments:

Post a Comment