Saturday, July 26, 2008

Literature's finest schlock

I remember the shock when I read Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One a couple of years after Brideshead Revisited. Imagine listening to the Buzzcock's "Orgasm Addict" after Kansas' "Dust in the Wind." The author of this limp, pallid, honey-hewed paen to English private school class envy and homoerotica wrote really funny novels! Maybe "pallid" is too strong: the depictions of nasty headmasters are worthy of the writer of Scoop and Vile Bodies; but they're unenthusiastic takedowns, as if nostalgia dulled his skewer.

Anyway, Troy Patterson fondly walks us through "literature's finest schlock" and the PBS adaptation that predated the E.M. Forster revival by almost four years, hereby preparing us for a lot of pain.

1 comment:

Theon said...

even the great waugh books have a bit of a weakness for limp rhapsodies though

like the last third of a handful of dust - there's a lot of interchangeable descriptions of the rolling might of the azure sea. although it does lull you into one hell of a false sense of complacency.