Evelyn Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh

Evelyn
Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
1903
1966

English Novelist, Biographer and Journalist

Author Quotes

Change is the only evidence of life.

Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole.'

Here I am,' I thought, 'back from the jungle, back from the ruins. Here, where wealth is no longer gorgeous and power has no dignity.

I had been there before; I knew all about it.

I used to know Brian Howard well -- a dazzling young man to my innocent eyes. In later life he became very dangerous -- constantly attacking people with his fists in public places -- so I kept clear of him. He was consumptive but the immediate cause of his death was a broken heart.

It is easy, retrospectively, to endow one's youth with a false precocity or a false innocence; to tamper with the dates marking one's stature on the edge of the door.

Life is like the big wheel at Luna Park. You pay five francs and go into a room with tiers of seats all around, and in the centre the floor is made of a great disc of polished wood that revolves quickly. At first you sit down and watch the others. They are all trying to sit in the wheel, and they keep getting flung off, and that makes them laugh too. It's great fun. You see, the nearer you can get to the hub of the wheel the slower it is moving and the easier it is to stay on. There's generally someone in the centre who stands up and sometimes does a sort of dance. Often he's paid by the management, though, or, at any rate, he's allowed in free. Of course at the very centre there's a point completely at rest, if one could only find it; I'm not very near that point myself. Of course the professional men get in the way. Lots of people just enjoy scrambling on and being whisked off and scrambling on again. How they all shriek and giggle! Then there are others, like Margot, who sit as far out as they can and hold on for dear life and enjoy that. But the whole point about the wheel is that you needn't get on it at all, if you don't want to. People get hold of ideas about life, and that makes them think they've got to join in the game, even if they don't enjoy it. It doesn't suit everyone. People don't see that when they say life they mean two different things. They can mean simply existence, with its physiological implications of growth and organic change. They can't escape that - even by death, but because that's inevitable they think the other idea of life is too - the scrambling and excitement and bumps and the effort to get to the middle, and when we do get to the middle, it's just as if we never started. It's so odd. Now you're a person who was clearly meant to stay in the seats and sit still and if you get bored watch the others. Somehow you got on to the wheel, and you got thrown off again at once with a hard bump. It's all right for Margot, who can cling on, and for me, at the centre, but you're static. Instead of this absurd division into sexes they ought to class people as static and dynamic. There's a real distinction there, though I can't tell you how it comes. I think we're probably two quite different species spiritually.

An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along; he must offer some little opposition. Even the great Victorian artists were all anti-Victorian, despite the pressures to conform.

Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love; it kills art; I greatly fear, my dear Charles, it has killed you.

For in that city [New York] there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.

His courtesy was somewhat extravagant. He would write and thank people who wrote to thank him for wedding presents and when he encountered anyone as punctilious as himself the correspondence ended only with death.

I have a good mind not to take Aloysius to Venice. I don't want him to meet a lot of horrid Italian bears and pick up bad habits.

I will not stand for being called a woman in my own house.

It is no longer possible to accept the benefits of civilization and at the same time deny the supernatural basis upon which it is based.

Literature is the right use of language irrespective of the subject or reason of utterance.

And the only interest about him arises from the unusual series of events of which his shadow was witness.

Chokey thinks religion is just divine.

Frankly, said the Doctor, I am at a loss to understand my own emotions. I can think of no entertainment that fills me with greater detestation than a display of competitive athletics, none - except possibly folk dancing.

His heart; some long word at the heart. He is dying of a long word.

I have been here before, I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer; it was a day of peculiar splendor, and though I had been there so often, in so many moods, it was to that first visit that my heart returned on this, my latest.

I wonder if you remember the story mummy read us the evening Sebastian first got drunk - I mean the bad evening. "Father Brown" said something like "I caught him" (the thief) "with an unseen hook and invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread."'

It is possible for the rich to sin by coveting the privileges of the poor. The poor has always being the favorites of god I caught himÂ’ [the thief] with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still bring him back with a twitch upon the thread. Do you know last year, when I thought I was going to have a child, I'd decided to have it brought up a Catholic? I hadn't thought about religion before; I haven't since; but just at that time, when I was was waiting for the birth, I thought, 'That's the one thing I can give her. It doesn't seem to have done me much good, but my child shall have it.' Charm is the great English blight. It does not exist outside these damp islands. It spots and kills anything it touches. It kills love; it kills art; I greatly fear, my dear Charles, it has killed you

Lord Copper quite often gave banquets; it would be an understatement to say that no one enjoyed them more than the host, for no one else enjoyed them at all, while Lord Copper positively exulted in every minute.

Anyone who has been to an English public school will always feel comparatively at home in prison. It is the people brought up in the gay intimacy of the slums who find prison so soul-destroying.

Comparisons are odious.

Author Picture
First Name
Evelyn
Last Name
Waugh, fully Evelyn Arthur St. John Waugh
Birth Date
1903
Death Date
1966
Bio

English Novelist, Biographer and Journalist