I found Mad World interesting, but I think it would have been very interesting if I was more familiar with Evelyn Waugh’s work. Paula Byrne’s biography seems to be mostly concerned with refuting statements and criticisms that were made about him, of which I was previously unaware.
The book traces Waugh’s life and career especially in terms of his relationship to the family who were partial models for the Flytes in Brideshead Revisited. The book describes just where the parallels lie and where they diverge.
Byrnes is at pains to refute the allegations that Waugh worshipped and toadied to the aristocracy and was ashamed of his own middle-class origins.
The book made me want to reread Brideshead. I found Waugh an interesting figure, although I couldn’t help feeling how boring and pointless the lives of many of his friends, who were hopeless drunks, seemed.
I apologize for my posts, which will be more sporadic than usual the next two weeks, as I am on vacation.