The art of writing letters has been pronounced dead as often as the novel and with more reason.
Evelyn Arthur St John Waugh was born on 28 October 1903.
To Alec Waugh1 Underhill,
[May 1914] North End Road,Hampstead, N.W.
I am so glad to hear you’ve got your firsts.
I have committed an inexcusable solecism in the Spectator ‘Anadyomene’ for ‘Anadyomenos’. What can be more ignominious than to use a rather recondite word and to use it wrong? I am hiding my head in shame - a bourgeois quality, you tell me.
You tend to be diffuse, saying the same thing more than once. I noticed this in 'The Seven Storey Mountain' and the fault persists. It is pattern-bombing instead of precision-bombing. ... It is not art. Your monastery tailor and bootmaker would not waste material. Words are our material.
I know you lead a dull life now. ... But that is no reason to make your letters as dull as your life. I simply am not interested in Bridget's children. Please grasp that.
The crocodile serves man in many ways - his hide for note-cases, bags and dago shoes, his name to enrich our literature with metaphor 'crocodile tears,' 'as warm & friendly as an alligator pool,' etc. Most especially he is a type & sign for us of our own unredeemed nature.
Please don’t answer, unless to say you would like the Sword of Honour omnibus.