Evelyn Waugh Undergraduate Essay
The disparity between what the character accepts and what the reader knows is right often provides the comic element….
Waugh's ideas, as we derive them from his later books, are too unconsidered to stand successfully separated from the comic devices which mask, strengthen, and give substance to them.
His clearly is not the kind of humor or comedy that attempts to create balance by purging nonsense….
Only to a limited extent do social institutions come under his attack, and the people whom he mocks appear to be the only ones who count.
Waugh's characters usually assume more, or less, about themselves than they are intrinsically worth, and then, suddenly, they are thrust into zany situations….It is a sham world of hypocrisy and dishonesty, of irresponsibility and license, a world from which all spiritual values have been eliminated; a topsy-turvy world in which the innocent suffers instead of the guilty, in which the essential is subordinated to the trivial, in which things normally recognized as evils are hailed as real blessings; a tired world of sophisticated boredom expressing the fundamental human need for activity; a fleeting world where 'the past and the future are pressing so hard on either side that there's no room for the present at all'; a pathetic world which 'enjoys a vicarious intimacy with death' but which nevertheless evades the reality of pain and death. Waugh's characters move in a vicious circle of aimlessness, boredom and futility: eternally active, they achieve nothing, their deeds being 'barely worth the attention of the most assiduous beach-comber'.Yet underneath there is 'a fatal thirst for permanence', a half articulate desire for something different and an indeterminate search for a purpose in life.In escaping them, apparently, one embraces the commonplace and tedious….Waugh avoids issues, decisions, controversy, for all the world is the object of his farce.Here, in the figure of Tony Last, we see the first outlines of the English Gothic dream, the cult of the aristocracy and the country house.In Brideshead Revisited (1945) this dream developed into a total myth; the aristocracy—particularly the Catholic aristocracy—were seen as the unique custodians of the traditional values in a world increasingly threatened by the barbarians, personified in the uncouth young officer, Hooper….Waugh, Evelyn 1903–1966 An English satirical novelist, Waugh is the author of The Loved One, Vile Bodies, and A Handful of Dust. 25-28.) Religion, the old Catholic religion, is presented in Waugh's later novels not as a living source of spiritual values which can redeem the modern waste land, but as what might perhaps be called the stiff upper lip of the soul; it gives the believer dignity of bearing, like wearing evening dress in the jungle. Waugh is both a sound moralist and an observant humorist and it is his humour which makes palatable the unpleasant medicines he prescribes for his readers.Thus religion provides aristocratic gestures to shore against the ruins. The world depicted in the novels is one of seemingly irreparable futility.From the chaos two problems emerge as major preoccupations: Mr.Waugh is concerned first of all with the disastrous effects of Science and progress on the human personality, and, arising out of this, is his vital concern about authority or leadership in the modern world….