The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography

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In this lively and just account, Douglas Patey follows Evelyn Waugh's career from the comfortable middle-class home he was anxious to flee, through his escapades at Oxford, his adventures in South America and Africa, his experience of war, to his last years as veiled autobiographer. In the process the author explores the nature of Waugh's Catholicism and examines how his religious beliefs began to guide his novelistic practice.Arguing that Waugh's novels, like his travel writing and even his biographies, are consistently autobiographical, Patey draws out the connections between the life and work, through a series of compelling chapters. At the centre of his account is the view that Waugh's novels contain detailed spiritual and artistic self-analysis, usually in the form of rejection and atonement.Patey has written a masterful biography, rich in enlivened critical detail. More than any other study of Waugh to date, his book works to redress the bias against its subject that is so representative of Stannards major two-volume study.