NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN, SUNDAY TIMES AND FINANCIAL TIMES
Fifty years after Evelyn Waugh's death, here is a completely fresh view of one of the most gifted -- and fascinating -- writers of our time, the enigmatic author of Brideshead Revisited.
Graham Greene hailed Waugh as 'the greatest novelist of my generation', and in recent years his reputation has only grown. Now Philip Eade has delivered an authoritative and hugely entertaining biography that is full of new material, much of it sensational.
Eade builds upon the existing Waugh lore with access to a remarkable array of unpublished sources provided by Waugh's grandson, including passionate love letters to Baby Jungman - the Holy Grail of Waugh research - a revealing memoir by Waugh's first wife Evelyn Gardner ("Shevelyn"), and an equally significant autobiography by Waugh's commanding officer in World War II.
Eade's gripping narrative illuminates Waugh's strained relationship with his sentimental father and blatantly favoured elder brother; his love affairs with male classmates at Oxford and female bright young things thereafter; his disastrous first marriage and subsequent conversion to Roman Catholicism; his insane wartime bravery; his drug-induced madness; his singular approach to marriage and fatherhood; his complex relationship with the aristocracy; the astonishing power of his wit; and the love, fear, and loathing that he variously inspired in others.
One of Eade's aims is 'to re-examine some of the distortions and misconceptions that have come to surround this famously complex and much mythologized character'.'This might look like code for a plan to whitewash the overly blackwashed Waugh, ' comments veteran Waugh scholar Professor Donat Gallagher; 'but readers fixated on atrocities will not be disappointed . . . I have been researching and writing about Waugh since 1963 and Eade time and again surprised and delighted me.'
Waugh was famously difficult and Eade brilliantly captures the myriad facets of his character even as he casts new light on the novels that have dazzled generations of readers.
A scintillating new biography of the novelist Evelyn Waugh, by acclaimed biographer Philip Eade.
Spurred by the milestone of fifty years since Waugh's death, encouraged by the subject's grandson, Alexander Waugh, and some new material, Eade has launched into this confounding, crowded, complicated life with brio ... [S]ympathetic, well-researched ... Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited will whet the appetite of any Wavian -- Mark McGinness * SYDNEY MORNING HERALD * For all the value of the newly available sources and the good use to which Mr. Eade has put them, in the end it is his biographical skills and crisp way with words and phrase that make this such a valuable tool for understanding the perplexing figure of Evelyn Waugh -- Martin Rubin * WASHINGTON TIMES * This biography, drawing on 80 previously unpublished love letters written by Waugh to Bright Young Thing Teresa 'Baby' Jungman, reveals a softer side to the author of Brideshead Revisited and explores the impact of his complex love life on his novels * THE LADY Christmas Book Guide * Eade's thoughtful and thorough re-examination will not affect Waugh's status as a novelist, but it may well raise his reputation as a man * NEW STATESMAN * Eade's biography is crisp, diligent and sympathetic; his fresh material adds texture to this oft-told story -- James Fergusson * COUNTRY LIFE Book of the Week * Fifty years after Evelyn Waugh's death from a heart attack, aged 62, Philip Eade's challenging biography draws on 80 previously unpublished love letters, written by Waugh to the beautiful Teresa 'Baby' Jungman, one of the wildest of the Bright Young Things with whom he was obsessed in the 1930s. It reveals a softer side to his personality, different from the brilliant, acerbic wit that previous biographers have focused on ... A fascinating read -- Rebecca Wallersteiner * THE LADY * Vastly entertaining ... a Perrier-Jouet book, frothy and fun -- Laura Freeman * STANDPOINT * The chief delight of this biography is the way it foregrounds Waugh's own voice ... Above all, Eade sends readers back to the books. You'll want to have at least the short stories, Brideshead, A Handful of Dust and the Sword of Honour trilogy to hand after reading this ... Eade shows just how hard-won his effortless brilliance really was -- Suzi Feay * FINANCIAL TIMES * Peppered with humour ... Eade's fine biography does a very good job of pinning down the particular puckish charisma that made Waugh so popular -- Violet Hudson * TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT * A splendid treat. Eade's exploration of the most significant episodes in the life of this fearless, deeply melancholic comedian is a most worthwhile addition to the bowing shelf of Waughiana -- Christopher Hirst * iNEWS * Philip Eade has written a brisk, lively, and wonderfully entertaining account of the life of a strange, tormented, unique creature. Through page after page one finds oneself laughing aloud yet again at stories that have been told and retold many times. While previous biographers have been respectful (Martin Stannard) or compassionate (Selina Hastings), Eade seems genuinely to like his subject, and takes Waugh largely as he presented himself to the world. In his preface he writes that his intention is not to offer us a reassessment of Waugh the writer, but 'to paint a fresh portrait of the man by revisiting key episodes throughout his life and focusing on his most meaningful relationships. In this admirably modest aim he has happily succeeded -- John Banville * NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS * A gloriously entertaining indulgence. There isn't a single dull page in the whole book, and it could easily be twice as long without overstaying its welcome -- Eilis O'Hanlon * IRISH INDEPENDENT * Philip Eade makes the case that now is the time to revisit Waugh and see if some of the old charges of cynicism, snobbery and emotional cruelty really hold true. The result is a bright, breezy and sympathetic portrait that stops just the right side of sentimental -- Kathryn Hughes * MAIL ON SUNDAY * Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited represents a sort of tipping point: Eade's even-handedness gently but firmly nudges Waugh's work centre stage again ... Eade is excellent on tracing the sources of Waugh's delights and horrors, from his life to his work and back again: the failures, the successes, the disappointments, the endless grist to the authorial mill -- Ian Sansom * LITERARY REVIEW * Eade's new biography draws on unpublished letters, diaries and memoirs to explore the eccentric larger-than-life story of one of the most acclaimed novelists of the 20th century. Will send readers back to the novels in droves * FINANCIAL TIMES Books of the Year * [I]t is the force of Waugh's energy - creative, sexual and social - that crackles through the pages of Philip Eade's meticulous and wildly entertaining biography ... Eade supplies an astonishing wealth of detail ... and is sympathetic to Waugh's many failings without being sycophantic -- Martin Townsend * DAILY EXPRESS * Anyone with the slightest interest in Evelyn Waugh - and who has not been intrigued by his steady return to favour? - should buy, and keep, Philip Eade's Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited. Why? Because it is packed with brand new, fascinating information about Waugh, his family, his friends and lovers. As well, it 'rebalances' a number of entrenched, skewed perceptions of man and soldier. And it is irresistibly readable -- Donat Gallagher, editor of THE ESSAYS, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS OF EVELYN WAUGH For even more laughs, Philip Eade's Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited demonstrates that Waugh's life, already done by divers hands, really is worth another visit -- John Banville * GUARDIAN Best Books of 2016 * Essential ... Eade's pacey new biography delivers the raw material of Waugh's life ... treat the Waugh aficionado in your life * SUNDAY TIMES Books of the Year * Brisk and entertaining ... intelligent and illuminating ... the best single-volume life of the author available. To read A Life Revisited is to experience a reckoning with a man whose life, like his work, is both a solace and a stimulus -- Matthew Adams * IRISH TIMES * Eade isn't a standard literary biographer; he is, by instinct and preference, an entertainer ... He is an assiduous researcher with a considerable narrative gift. He also, crucially, likes his subject. Waugh never much cared what anyone thought of him, but Eade does, and time and again he finds justification for what previous biographers have considered questionable behaviour. He also has a nice, wry turn of phrase ... this is an exemplary piece of work -- Marcus Berkmann * DAILY MAIL Book of the Week * If you like your Waugh fast, furious and funny, there is much to enjoy in Philip Eade's sparkling Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited ... Waugh's letters are a joy to read, and Eade's coup is his access to a hitherto unpublished cache of them -- Paula Byrne * THE TIMES *
Philip Eade is the author of two highly acclaimed previous biographies, SYLVIA, QUEEN OF THE HEADHUNTERS (2007) and YOUNG PRINCE PHILIP (2011). Born in Shropshire and educated at Marlborough and at Bristol University, where he read History, he now lives in London with his wife and daughter.