‘One of the largest ever’ complete works to shed new light on life and times of Brideshead Revisited author

12/11/2014 - 12/11/2014 Leicester, University of
Location: Leicester, UK
Address Leicester Central Library, Leicester City Centre
Opening Hours: 10.00 -11.00am

New Evelyn Waugh material to be discussed at University of Leicester Literary Leicester festival public event on Wednesday 12 November

  • Research derived from The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, one of the largest editions of a British novelist’s work ever published
  • General Editor of the project is the grandson of Evelyn Waugh, Alexander Waugh
  • Previously unseen letters to give fresh look into his writing
  • Talk forms part of Literary Leicester 2014, a literature festival run annually by the University of Leicester, taking place between 12-15 November

One of the largest editions of a British novelist’s work ever made, weighing in at a whopping 42 volumes, will reveal its mysteries during an event at this year’s Literary Leicester festival hosted by the University of Leicester on Wednesday 12 November.

The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project, led by Professor Martin Stannard from the University of Leicester’s School of English with vital contributions from Research Associate Dr Barbara Cooke and PhD student Rebecca Moore, will shed new light upon Waugh’s life and writings, especially Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust and Vile Bodies.

Funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant, the editors are working with Oxford University Press to print all Waugh's extant writings and graphic art, including novels, biographies, travel writing, short fiction, essays, articles, reportage, reviews, letters - about 85 per cent of which are currently unpublished - diaries, poems, juvenilia, drawings and designs.

Professor Stannard said: “The project revolutionises Waugh studies and influences twentieth-century literary and cultural studies more broadly, too. The expert editors of our new volumes will place Waugh’s works in their rich literary and historical context, enabling us to greatly expand our knowledge of the range and complexity of his thinking and artistic practice, linking this to the work of his contemporaries in Britain, America and Europe. No other edition of a British novelist has been undertaken on this scale.”

During the event, entitled ‘Diaries, Decadence and Discovery: A Year on the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh Project’, Professor Stannard, Dr Cooke and Rebecca Moore will look back upon the last 12 months of reading, editing and compiling Waugh’s work.

Professor Stannard will introduce the project in general and his work on Vile Bodies in particular, which Waugh was in the middle of writing when his first wife left him. Dr Cooke will be talking about working with the thousands of letters and diary extracts they hope to include in the final edition, while Rebecca will report back on her research into the concept of decadence in Waugh’s literature.

Dr Cooke said: “It’s been an exciting start to the project and I’m looking forward to sharing our finds and to hearing what other readers want to know about Waugh, too. We’re delighted that Leicester is hosting this event, as Evelyn Waugh has had a spiritual home here since we set up the Waugh Book Group at the beginning of this year. Anyone who would like to explore these Works in more detail is very welcome to join us.”

The free public event will take place on Wednesday 12 November from 10:00am - 11:00am at the Leicester Central Library, Leicester City Centre as part of the Literary Leicester festival 2014, taking place between Wednesday 12 and Saturday 15 November.

This year marks the seventh year in which Literary Leicester has taken place, with the festival bringing together well-known authors from across the United Kingdom.