Auberon Waugh

A Little More Whitewash

Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years 1903–1939

By Martin Stannard

JM Dent 540pp £14.95 order from our bookshop

When the Christopher Sykes biography of Evelyn Waugh appeared in 1975, I reviewed it at some length in Books and Bookmen. It had been commissioned as the official, not to say definitive, biography and I was slightly irritated to read Sykes’s disclaimer of any such role in the first sentence of his Preface. It was already nine years since its subject’s death, and as I wrote at the time:

Since many of EW’s surviving friends have died in the last nine years and many, if not most of the rest have lost that keen grasp of events which might make their recollections useful to a biographer, this is not ground which can ever be covered again . . .

Of one thing I am certain, that nobody else could write a better biography now, and so far as the suggestion of another one is concerned, it must be written without my help or the use of any material which remains in copyright.

Royal Shakespeare Company


Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Thomas Hardy's phrenologist tells him he will 'lead to no good' in a new book about his life in London ,
    • John Knox said that crowning a woman was akin to putting ‘a saddle upon the back of an unruly cow’. Tell that to Catherine de'Medici...,
    • RT : I 💕💕 the Pulpit article in September's about rereading books at different times of life.,
    • Interesting thread by Aki there on inclusivity in publishing. (Read her tweets for full thread.),
    • RT : A conference about inclusivity in publishing is a fantastic idea, but doesn't £200 seem a short-sighted undermining of, well, inclusivity?,
    • Calling all friends of bulbous salutations & the elfin grot: lots of entries to have already come in, but my door’s still open...,