Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Return of the Interview from Hell

Evelyn Waugh

Today's Guardian UK has a fascinating article, Waugh at the BBC: 'the most ill-natured interview ever' on CD after 55 years. The Beeb recently unearthed a 1953 radio interview with novelist Evelyn Waugh. As a British Library sound archive curator understated: "It's three interviewers pitched against one subject and they don't get on terribly well."

First question:
"May I say to begin with that I personally find, reading your books, that you are to me ... perhaps the most interesting, amusing, and at the same time depressing person now writing. Do you really feel that there is any future for mankind at all?"
It went downhill from there. Given the revelations in Alexander Waugh's recent book, Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family, the following is pitiful, rather than witty:
On his family, Waugh says: "Thank God they don't live with me, except on holidays. They're most of them at school ... I don't see a great deal of them except in the holidays." Asked "do you play much with your children when they're young?" Waugh replies: "Not when they're infantile. When they get to the age of clear speech and clearness of reason I associate with them, I wouldn't say play with them. I don't bounce balls with them or stand on my head or carry them about on my shoulders or anything."
However, here's a quote for all writers, for all time:
"There is no ordinary run of mankind, there are only individuals who are totally different. And whether a man is naked and black and stands on one foot in Sudan or is clothed in some kind of costume in a bus in England, they are still individuals of entirely different characters."


David said...


The thing I hate about background info like that is that the negative image of the author then infects my attitude when I reread a book of his that I may have liked before.

Fortunately, there are guys like Thackeray, biographies of whom make one like them even more.

Bella Stander said...

Ditto for Trollope.