Arguing against the critical commonplace that Evelyn Waugh’s post-war fiction represents a decline in his powers as a writer, D. Marcel DeCoste offers detailed analyses of Waugh's major works from Brideshead Revisited to Unconditional Surrender. Rather than representing an ill-advised departure from his true calling as an iconoclastic satirist, DeCoste suggests, these novels form a cohesive, artful whole precisely as they explore the extent to which the writer’s and the Catholic’s vocations can coincide. For all their generic and stylistic diversity, these novels pursue a new, sustained exploration of Waugh’s art and faith both. As DeCoste shows, Waugh offers in his later works an under-remarked meditation on the dangers of a too-avid devotion to art in the context of modern secularism, forging in the second half of his career a literary achievement that both narrates and enacts a contrary, and Catholic, literary vocation.
Table of Contents
Deplorable design, divine providence: Brideshead Revisited and the callings of Charles Ryder. The plasticity of the human: the death of art in The Loved One and Love Among the Ruins. 'A single peculiar act of service': Helena and the stylish pilgrimage of factual faith. The man of letters in middle age: secular perdition and ecclesial art in Scott-King's Modern Europe and The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold . 'It's sauve qui peut now': art's death wish and charity's vocation in the War Trilogy.
D. Marcel DeCoste is Associate Professor of English at the University of Regina, Canada, where he teaches twentieth-century British and American literature. He has published and presented widely on Waugh's work.