Evelyn Waugh< Back to author list
In 1924 Waugh left Oxford without taking his degree. After inglorious stints as a school teacher (he was dismissed for trying to seduce a school matron and/or inebriation), an apprentice cabinet maker and journalist, he wrote and had published his first novel, “Decline and Fall” in 1928.
In 1928 he married Evelyn Gardiner. She proved unfaithful, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1930. Waugh would derive parts of “A Handful of Dust” from this unhappy time. His second marriage to Audrey Herbert lasted the rest of his life and begat seven children. It was during this time that he converted to Catholicism.
During the thirties Waugh produced one gem after another. From this decade come: “Vile Bodies” (1930), “Black Mischief” (1932), the incomparable “A Handful of Dust” (1934) and “Scoop” (1938). After the Second World War he published what is for many his masterpiece, “Brideshead Revisited,” in which his Catholicism took centre stage. “The Loved One” a scathing satire of the American death industry followed in 1947. After publishing his “Sword of Honour Trilogy” about his experiences in World War II - “Men at Arms” (1952), “Officers and Gentlemen” (1955), “Unconditional Surrender" (1961) - his career was seen to be on the wane. In fact, “Basil Seal Rides Again” (1963) - his last published novel - received little critical or commercial attention.
Evelyn Waugh, considered by many to be the greatest satirical novelist of his day, died on 10 April 1966 at the age of 62.
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