Saturday, April 12, 2008

Read Evelyn

To anyone who has not so indulged themselves, I strongly recommend the novels of Evelyn Waugh. Waugh wrote novels of aristocratic satire during the prime of the twentieth century, becoming probably the medium's best practitioner, besting even such contemporary talents as P.G. Wodehouse, whom everyone I know seems to prefer for some odd reason. Waugh performs, at his best, the separate tricks of wielding wit's scalpel in one hand while painstakingly fixing the mosaicist's tessellae with the other. His greatest achievement is, of course, "Brideshead Revisited," to which I would add "Decline and Fall" as an essential course and the essay "Well-Informed Circles, and How to Move in Them" as a cherry on top.


Lincoln Davis said...

My guess is that various Wilson endorsements and the aesthetic obedience such endorsements engender have contributed substantially to Woodehouse's overrated status in North Idaho.

Thomas Banks said...

That may well be true. Don't get me wrong, I think Wodehouse was a talented man; but I think comedy ought to have its purpose just as tragedy has, and I don't detect one in Wodehouse, endearing as he is.