Subtitled "A Novel of Many Manners, " Evelyn Waugh's notorious first novel lays waste the "heathen idol" of British sportsmanship, the cultured perfection of Oxford, and the inviolable honor codes of the English gentleman. Within the book's unparalleled, rampant satire roam at will such characters as the Hon. Mrs. Beste-Chetwynde, Viscount Tangent, the utterly helpless hero, Paul Pennyfeather, stalked by various representatives of "the English country families baying for broken glass, " that refreshing bounder who misbehaves without compunction, Captain Grimes ("I don't believe one can ever be unhappy for long provided one does exactly what one wants when one wants to"), and the equally sulubrious butler, Philbrick, a graduate of the underworld who likes to tell about revolting crimes.
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Decline and Fall (1928) was Evelyn Waugh's immensely successful first novel, and it displays not only all of its author's customary satiric genius and flair for unearthing the ridiculous in human nature, but also a youthful willingness to train those weapons on any and every thing in his path. In this fractured picaresque comedy of the hapless Paul Pennyfeather stumbling from one disaster to another, Waugh manages the delicious task of skewering every aspect of the society in which he lived.
With an Introduction by Frank Kermode
Sir Frank Kermode, formerly Lord Northcliffe Professor at London University, is now Professor at Cambridge and Columbia Universities. His books include The Uses of and Continuities.
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Book Description Penguin Classic, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 014018242X