The Picturesque Prison, Evelyn Waugh and His Writing

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This study of the life and works of Evelyn Waugh traces the novelist’s pursuit of his vocation and his long retreat from a world which he came to regard as a spiritual dungeon. Jeffrey Heath explores the paradoxical elements in Waugh’s career: his quest for a refuge itself proved to be a prison and his devotion to the Augustan graces was accompanied by a lasting attraction to a Dionysiac age without restratint. The deep cleft in Waugh’s nature imbued his art with the characteristic quirky complexity which has fascinated many readers, but it left him a choleric and melancholy man who never fully accepted his calling as a writer.

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