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A LITTLE ORDER by Evelyn Waugh

A LITTLE ORDER

Selected Journalism

By Evelyn Waugh

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1980
ISBN: 0141182938
Publisher: Little, Brown

A small, judicious selection of Waugh's journalistic pieces, 1917-1964--only a pendant to the recently-published diaries and letters, perhaps, but a display of the author's range without his excesses. Under "Myself" are the youthful, impudent pieces (mocking "the plague of 'good taste,'" satirizing the course of literary careers--but asking, already, "Why Glorify Youth?") and the late laments ("Why Hollywood Is a Term of Disparagement," "I See Nothing But Boredom. . . Everywhere"). The "Aesthete" brings some of Waugh's keenest observation--of social and cultural modes--and his most evocative descriptions; surveying the monuments of "our Augustan age of architecture," he conjures up "A lovely house where an aged colonel plays wireless music to an obese retriever." The "Man of Letters" finds him analyzing Henry Green's Living, paying witty tribute to Osbert Sitwell, celebrating the "unique" career of Alfred Duggar, and writing about Max Beerbohm with elegance and tact. The pieces that represent Waugh the "Conservative" demonstrate his perturbations--a denunciation of a visit by Tito, the observation that "In general a man is best fitted to the tasks he has seen his father perform"--without bombast. And Gallagher's introduction to the "Catholic" writings puts Waugh's Faith in sympathetic perspective--as do the writings chosen: "Come Inside," his own undogmatic account of how he became a Catholic; "Edith Stein," a meticulous, restrained account of a convert. Throughout, there is evidence of Waugh's sense of structure and awareness of style, his enthusiasms as well as his prejudices. Whereas the diaries and letters may put off readers, this is more likely to encourage them to explore further.