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March 2013

The pen is mightier

by David Pryce-Jones

David Pryce-Jones explores the novels of Evelyn Waugh and his special relationship with the author.


Portrait of Evelyn Waugh from December 1940

Evelyn Waugh was one of those characters that English literature throws up now and again, who put a special stamp on the times, like Dean Swift or Dr. Johnson. About the best that most writers can expect from posterity is cultural embalming, probably in the form of a monograph written by some academic paid to read books nobody else is reading. Almost fifty years after his death, Waugh remains a presence because the spirit of comedy in his books is pure and irrepressible. A reissue of his fiction by Little, Brown and Company attests to the lasting nature of his works.

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David Pryce-Jones is a senior editor at National Review. His most recent book is Treason of the Heart (Encounter).


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 31 March 2013, on page 9

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