Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966). With Henry Green and Graham Greene, a key figure in the middle decades of the 20th century; he first gained fame for his darkly comic novels but is now best known for a more serious work, Brideshead Revisited (1945). The son of an editor and publisher, Waugh was born in London. He was educated at Oxford, where he entered into what one of his biographers has called a homosexual phase. After leaving college, Waugh worked as a schoolteacher and considered becoming a carpenter before beginning his literary career in the late 1920s. Married in 1928 and divorced a little over a year later—his wife had committed adultery—Waugh converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930. His early works of fiction include Decline and Fall (1928), Vile Bodies (1930), and A Handful of Dust (1934). During the war, he served in the Royal Marines, beginning work on Brideshead after breaking his leg in parachute training. Brideshead announced a new seriousness of purpose, portraying an aristocratic family’s return to its Catholic faith. In his later years, Waugh grew increasingly conservative, especially in religious matters, often protesting the reforms enacted by the Second Vatican Council. He seldom attended mass in this period but did go to church on Easter Sunday, 1966. Later that same day, he passed away, the victim of a massive heart attack. He was 62 years old.
[Courtesy: Professor Timothy Spurgin]