Saturday, November 02, 2019

Celebrating Auberon Waugh

Poor Jeremy. He is his own worst enemy, but with friends like these he really has no need of himself. The only remaining mystery is why the Liberal Party policy committee decided to murder Scott rather than Jeremy.
When I find myself bereft of courage or inspiration, it is the works of Auberon Waugh I turn to.

In the current number of the London Review of Books Rosemary Hill reviews a celebration of his work. You have to register with its website, but as it free I think it worth the effort.

Hill captures the essence of Waugh's appeal:
The ability to blend truth with invention on a sliding scale from the plausible to the surreal was the key to Auberon Waugh’s Diary, a column that ran in Private Eye from 1972 until 1985, which he regarded as his greatest achievement, and in which he claimed, with justice, to have invented a new form, ‘a work of pure fantasy, except that the characters in it were real’.
I particularly like her description of Waugh's resignation from the Eye:
At his farewell lunch he was upstaged by Ingrams, who announced his own retirement to cries of dismay all round, except from the ‘small young man called Ian Hislop’ who sat ‘tight-lipped’ as Waugh begged Ingrams to stay.

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