Decades after Evelyn Waugh’s death, here is a completely fresh view of one of the most gifted—and fascinating—writers of our time
Graham Greene hailed Evelyn Waugh as “the greatest novelist of my generation,” and in recent years Waugh’s reputation has only grown. Now, half a century after Waugh’s death in 1966, Philip Eade has delivered a hugely entertaining biography that is both authoritative and full of new information, some of it sensational.
Drawing on extensive unseen primary sources, Eade’s book sheds new light on many of the key phases and themes of Waugh’s life: his difficult relationship with his embarrassingly sentimental father; his formative homosexual affairs at Oxford; his unrequited love for various Bright Young Things; his disastrous first marriage; his momentous conversion to Roman Catholicism; his unconventional yet successful second marriage; his checkered wartime career; and his shattering nervous breakdown. Along the way, we come to understand not only Waugh’s complex relationship with the aristocracy, but also the astonishing power of his wit, and the love, fear, and loathing that he variously inspired in others.
Waugh was famously difficult, and Eade brilliantly captures the myriad facets of his character even as he casts new light on the novels that have dazzled generations of readers.
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Again, Eade’s biography catches fire briefly, before becoming extinguished in Waugh’s postwar nervous breakdown...there’s one clear message, unintended by Philip Eade. The time is now ripe for a new and comprehensive literary critical life of one of Britain’s great writers.Read Full Review of Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited | See more reviews from Guardian