Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh is probably one of the best known writers of the first half of the twentith century ,he born in london ,his father was a editor and publicist he studied at oxford where he met henry green andbrian howard and numerous other of the leading lights of the bright young things ,he work as as journalist before the publication of this book his debut novel .

Decline and fall ,focuses on Paul Pennyfather ,he is the archtypical charcater of waugh’s book a man that studies at Oxford like waugh himself ,Pennyfather has a spot of trouble and is sent down from Oxford for indecnt behaviour ,unable to get any money from his family he has to go out in to the wide world and get a job ,this draws him to wales and a lowly public school as a master ,he arrives at the school and meets a wonderful cast of  misfits and rogues the are the masters of the school ,he has many mishaps at the school whilst ,on the sportsday he meets and v=eventually gets employed by the beautiful Margot Beste Chetwynde to teach her ,having accidently shoot someone on the sportsday a hasty retreat is required ,he falls for this glamorous women ,and wants to marry her ,but he dosen’t know she runs a high class brothel andthat is the source of her money .

Margot Beste -Chetwynde had two houses in england one in London and the other in Hampshire her London home was built in the reign of William and Mary ,was,by universal consent the most beautiful building between bond street and Park lane ,but opion divide on the subject of her country house this was very new indeed ,in fact it was scarcely finished when Paul went to stay there at the beginning of the easter holidays .

the opening of the second part of Decline and fall when Paul and Margot start to get together .

The book is still funny after all this time and has in the authour notes the restored words of Waugh please bear in mind it is meant to be funny ,penneyfather is like Jim Dixon thirties years before Amis wrote lucky Jim ,a bungler ,a man that falls from one diaster to the next ,it is also one of the best school comdies I ve read ,humour isn’t always the first think you think of when you think of Waugh ,shame he actually did it rather well .So if you want to spend a coup[le of days or a long evening having a good laugh and revisiting 20’s and the bright young things I recomend this book highly .

October 2010


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