Decline and Fall

David Bradshaw, John Bowen and Ann Pasternak Slater join Melvyn Bragg to discuss Evelyn Waugh’s comic novel Decline and Fall. Set partly in a substandard boys’ public school, the novel is a vivid, often riotous portrait of 1920s Britain. Its themes, including modernity, religion and fashionable society, came to dominate Waugh’s later fiction, but its savage wit and economy of style were entirely new. Published when Waugh was 24, the book was immediately celebrated for its vicious satire and biting humour.

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  • David Bradshaw 2 episodes
    Professor of English Literature at Worcester College, Oxford
  • John Bowen 6 episodes
    Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of York
  • Ann Pasternak Slater No other episodes
    Senior Research Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford

Reading list

  • Letters of Evelyn Waugh
    Mark Amory (ed.) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980)
  • Evelyn Waugh: Fictions, Faith and Family
    Michael Brennan (Bloomsbury, 2013) Google Books →
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
    Paula Byrne (HarperPress, 2009) Google Books →
  • The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends
    Humphrey Carpenter (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989) Google Books →
  • The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh
    Michael Davie (ed.) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976) Google Books →
  • Evelyn Waugh: Portrait of a Country Neighbour
    Frances Donaldson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968) Google Books →
  • The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh
    Donat Gallagher (ed.) (Methuen, 1983)
  • Evelyn Waugh: A Biography
    Selina Hastings (Vintage, 1995) Google Books →
  • The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography
    Douglas Lane Patey (Blackwell, 1998) Google Books →
  • Evelyn Waugh: The Complete Short Stories
    Ann Pasternak Slater (ed.) (Everyman, 1998) Google Books →
  • Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years, 1903-1939
    Martin Stannard (Dent, 1986) Google Books →
  • Evelyn Waugh: Portrait of an Artist
    F. J. Stopp (Chapman & Hall, 1958) Google Books →
  • Evelyn Waugh: A Biography
    Christopher Sykes (Collins, 1975) Google Books →
  • Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family
    Alexander Waugh (Headline, 2004) Google Books →
  • A Little Learning: The First Volume of an Autobiography
    Evelyn Waugh (published first 1964, various publishers ) Google Books →
  • No Abiding City: 1939-1966
    Evelyn Waugh (Dent, 1992)
  • Vile Bodies
    Evelyn Waugh (published first 1930, various publishers ) Google Books →

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Programme ID: b01qmbsc

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Auto-category: 823.912 (British fiction–20th century)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. In May 1928, the Times Literary Supplement published a long review of a new book about Dante Gabriel Rossetti.