- NAME: Evelyn Waugh
- OCCUPATION: Educator, Artist, Journalist, Author
- BIRTH DATE: October 28, 1903
- DEATH DATE: April 10, 1966
- Did You Know?: Evelyn Waugh's first wife was also named Evelyn, so they were called He-Evelyn and She-Evelyn.
- EDUCATION: Lancing College, Hertford College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England, United Kingdom
- PLACE OF DEATH: Combe Florey, Somerset, England, United Kingdom
- Full Name: Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
- AKA: Evelyn Waugh
Best Known For
English writer Evelyn Waugh is regarded by many as the most brilliant satirical novelist of his day. His works include The Loved One and Brideshead Revisited.
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Waugh's short first marriage led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism, which informed much of his later work, including a biography of martyr Edmund Campion.
In 1937, Waugh married Laura Herbert, a cousin of his first wife, and they had seven children. But in less than 10 years, he was considered old for his age—"selectively deaf, rheumatic and irascible"—possibility due to his excessive alcohol,
tobacco and sedative use to control his depression and insomnia. Having become embittered and irascible, his writing fell out of vogue, and he was forced to submit to interviews and write material that he found distasteful.
Evelyn Waugh died of heart failure on April 10, 1966—which happened to be Easter Day—at his home in Combe Florey, Somerset, England. He had attended a Latin Mass that day, the dissolution of which, due to the modernization of the Catholic Church, had been a source of upset for him. Six years earlier, he had declined the honor of being named a commander of the British Empire because he felt that he deserved the superior designation of knight of the realm. However, a Requiem Mass in Latin was celebrated in his honor in Westminster not long after his death, on April 21, 1966.
Waugh's work came roaring back into vogue with the success of the BBC series Brideshead Revisited, starring Jeremy Irons, in the early 1980s. Other film versions of his works followed, and the elegance and subtlety of his prose met with new appreciation, without the intimidating presence that had long accompanied it. Waugh's grandson, Alexander, explored his legacy in the book Fathers and Sons, which covered five successive generations of Waugh's family. The New Yorker called the book "witty, in the Waugh manner, but it is also poignant, especially regarding the relationship between Arthur and his two sons. ... Evelyn was 'no more than an encumbrance in a corner.' That is certainly the way Arthur viewed his second son."
Evelyn Waugh once said, "Don't hold your parents up to contempt. After all, you are their son, and it is just possible that you may take after them."
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