Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated work is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the story mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh.
A unique three-person reading. Vile Bodies is both a celebration of the hedonism of the young and a warning to those who believe that their licence to indulge is infinite and unquestionable.
A whole host of characters are introduced throughout Waugh's thought-provoking and often highly satirical story, which follows protagonist Adam through the perils and pitfalls of securing his marriage to Nina Blount, his fiancée.
Sent down from Oxford after a wild, drunken party, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly surprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at a boys' private school in Wales. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, rascals and fools, including Prendy (plagued by doubts) and Captain Grimes, who is always in the soup (or just plain drunk). Then Sports Day arrives, and with it the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, floating on a scented breeze.
"Great Old Fashion Story"
Following the death of a friend, the poet and pets' mortician Dennis Barlow finds himself entering the artificial Hollywood paradise of the Whispering Glades Memorial Park. Within its golden gates, death, American-style, is wrapped up and sold like a package holiday - and Dennis gets drawn into a bizarre love triangle with Aimée Thanatogenos, a naïve Californian corpse beautician, and Mr. Joyboy, a master of the embalmer's art.
In Scoop, surreptitiously dubbed "a newspaper adventure", Waugh flays Fleet Street and the social pastimes of its war correspondants as he tells how William Boot became the star of British super-journalism and how, leaving part of his shirt in the claws of the lovely Katchen, he returned from Ishmaelia to London as the "Daily's Beast's" more accoladed overseas reporter.
"Well Written & Funny but Lacking"
Evelyn Waugh's 1934 novel is a bitingly funny vision of aristocratic decadence in England between the wars. It tells the story of Tony Last, who, to the irritation of his wife, is inordinately obsessed with his Victorian Gothic country house and life. When Lady Brenda Last embarks on an affair with the worthless John Beaver out of boredom with her husband, she sets in motion a sequence of tragicomic disasters that reveal Waugh at his most scathing.
"Slow Start then Subtle"
This trilogy about World War II, largely based on his own experiences as an army officer, is the crowning achievement of Evelyn Waugh's career. Its central character is Guy Crouchback, head of an ancient but decayed Catholic family, who at first discovers new purpose in the challenge to defend Christian values against Nazi barbarism, but then gradually finds the complexities and cruelties of war too much for him.
"At least one chapter missing"
A book of brilliant entertainments: 39 stories spanning the entire career of a great modern writer and an undisputed comic genius, "a satirist whose skill at sticking pens in people rates him a roomy cell in the murderers' row (Swift, Poe, Wilde, Shaw) of English letters" (Time).
"Chips from the Master's Bench"
The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh's masterpiece - a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire. Through the story of Charles Ryder's entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities.
Selected Shorts is a weekly public radio show broadcast on over 130 stations to about 300,000 listeners. It is produced by Symphony Space and WNYC Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. The radio show is recorded live at the popular New York City stage show which began in 1985 and still enjoys sell-out audiences today at the Peter Sharp Theater at Symphony Space on Broadway and 95th Street in New York City. Selected Shorts is one of the premiere reading series in New York City.
"Greetings and salutations"
The inspiration for a major film releasing 2008 starring Emma Thompson and Michael Gambon. A study of faith and disillusionment in a glamorous upper-class world, Waugh’s most famous novel is partly autobiographical and is a gripping multi-character-study.
"Evelyn Waugh read by a truly great actor..."
Black Mischief, Waugh's third novel, helped to establish his reputation as a master satirist. Set on the fictional African island of Azania, the novel chronicles the efforts of Emperor Seth, assisted by the Englishman Basil Seal, to modernize his kingdom. Profound hilarity ensues from the issuance of homemade currency, the staging of a "Birth Control Gala", the rightful ruler's demise at his own rather long and tiring coronation ceremonies, and a good deal more mischief.
"Raucous, Not Racist"
A boon for booklovers, this audio set features funny, fantastical and poignant stories about people with unique and passionate connections to the written word.
Tony Roberts reads a hilarious Walter R. Brooks story about how Ed - a talking horse - became a voracious reader of adventure tales and mysteries. In a story by Italo Calvino, read by John Shea, a man tries to make the most of his beach holiday by reading and making love at the same time.
The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold is a semi-autobiographical story, which tells of the mental breakdown of an ageing writer. Gilbert Pinfold takes a cruise to try to rebuild his shattered life, but what should his life be, and is he important to the world, anyway?
"What a gem"
Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of the Daily Beast, has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs. Algernon Stitch, Lord Copper feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia. So begins Scoop.
Expelled from Oxford for indecent behaviour, Paul Pennyfeather is oddly unsurprised to find himself qualifying for the position of schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, including Prendy (plagued by doubts) and Captain Grimes, who is always in the soup (or just plain drunk). Then Sports Day arrives, and with it the delectable Margot Beste-Chetwynde, floating on a scented breeze. As the farce unfolds and the young run riot, no one is safe, least of all Paul.
Lovely old Mr. Loveday, who looks after the feeble-minded patients, is so deserving of a day off, isn’t he? And then there's that lost traveller who's rescued in the Amazon and conscripted to read Dickens, a man who hates radios, Bella Fleace's party and a whole host of hilarious characters that Evelyn Waugh ruthlessly satirises with his elegant, malicious prose. If you've never read Waugh then this collection is an excellent introduction. If you know his novels then his short stories are a revelation.
What happened to the characters of Decline and Fall and Vile Bodies when the war broke out? Put Out More Flags shows them adjusting to the changing social pattern of the times. Some of them play valorous parts; others, like the scapegrace Basil Sea, disclose their incorrigible habit of self-preservation in all circumstances. Basil's contribution to the war effort involves the use of his peculiar talents in such spheres of opportunity as the Ministry of Information and an obscure section of Military Security.
Upper-class scoundrel Basil Seal, mad, bad, and dangerous to know, creates havoc wherever he goes, much to the despair of the three women in his life - his sister, his mother, and his mistress. When Neville Chamberlain declares war on Germany, it seems the perfect opportunity for more action and adventure. So Basil follows the call to arms and sets forth to enjoy his finest hour - as a war hero. Basil's instincts for self-preservation come to the fore as he insinuates himself into the Ministry of Information and a little-known section of Military Security.
Black Mischief, Waugh's third novel, helped to establish his reputation as a master satirist. Set on the fictional African island of Azania, the novel chronicles the efforts of Emperor Seth, assisted by the Englishman Basil Seal, to modernize his kingdom. Profound hilarity ensues from the issuance of homemade currency, the staging of a "Birth Control Gala", the rightful ruler's demise at his own rather long and tiring coronation ceremonies and a good deal more mischief.