Waugh, Evelyn (1903–1966) By Milthorpe, Naomi
Evelyn Waugh (1903–66) is not usually regarded as a modernist writer, but his works reveal a productive ambivalence towards Modernism. In Decline and Fall (1928), Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), and A Handful of Dust (1934), Waugh borrowed from or satirised elements of modernist culture: figures such as Le Corbusier, Henri Bergson, T. S. Eliot, and Marcel Proust; aesthetic movements including Futurism and Vorticism; and technology and culture encapsulated by jazz, silent film, the telephone, and the aeroplane. When he is regarded as a modernist it is usually as a modernist satirist, and in reference to these first four novels. The breadth of Waugh’s writing up until his death reveals his ongoing encounters with the literary, aesthetic, and intellectual currents of modernist culture.