Sam Leith

Wit and Wisdom

Armageddon in Retrospect: And Other New and Unpublished Writings on War and Peace

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After Evelyn Waugh died, screeds of valedictory newsprint were filled with anecdotes and commentary about his cantankerousness, his snobbery, his Catholicism and his right-wing politics. Shortly afterwards his son Bron – the former editor of this magazine – was moved to write an article saying that the obituarists had completely missed the point. The least important things about Evelyn Waugh were his politics, his social climbing or his religion: ‘The main point about my father’, he wrote, ‘is simply that he was the funniest man of his generation. He scarcely opened his mouth but to say something extremely funny. His house and life revolved around jokes.’

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