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Decline and Fall (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1928; edition 2010)

by Evelyn Waugh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,363392,662 (3.91)149
Member:JDEllevsen
Title:Decline and Fall (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Evelyn Waugh
Info:Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (2010), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library, Lost, Oxford
Rating:
Tags:literary fiction, fiction set in Oxford, Oxford

Work details

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh (1928)

  1. 30
    Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: If you like one of these Evelyn Waugh novels, chances are you'll like the second.
  2. 00
    Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: These are two of the only books that make me laugh out loud. Also, both are entertaining (and very English) accounts of young men coming of age with more than a little truth to them.
  3. 00
    A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (John_Vaughan)
  6. 01
    Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley (John_Vaughan)
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» See also 149 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
WAUGH'S VERY FIRST NOVEL. AN AMUSING YARN ABOUT ECCENTRIC CHARACTERS WHO ARE BUFFETTED ABOUT BY "THE SLINGS AND ARROWS OF OUTRAGEOUS FORUNE". ROLLICKING FUN! ( )
  Betty.Ann.Beam | Feb 13, 2014 |
"'Prendy's not so bad in his way,' said Grimes, 'but he can't keep order. Of course, you know he wears a ig. Very hard for a man with a wig to keep order. I've got a fale leg, but that's different. Boys respect that. Think I lost it in the war. Actually,' said the Captain, 'and strictly between ourselves, mind, I was run over by a tram in Stoke-on-Trent when I was one-over-the-eight. Still, it doesn't do to let that out to everyone. Funny thing, but I feel I can trust you. I think we're going to be pals.'"

Evelyn Waugh was a master of satire. He had that wonderful way of mocking the stereotypical attitudes of people that rings so true and is laugh-out-loud hilarious.

"One way and another, I have been consistently unfortunate in my efforts at festivity. And yet I look forward to each new fiasco with the utmost relish."

Paul Pennyfeather has his life flipped upside down and inside out by an odd twist of wrong place-wrong time, and is joined in his pursuits by a most amusing and eclectic cast of characters. Don't try to make any predictions about what's going to happen here, because it's a complete roller coaster and you cannot possibly anticipate the loops and drops it'll take!

"'[...] Shall I tell you about life?'
'Yes, do,' said Paul politely.
'Well, it's like the big wheel at Luna Park. Have you seen the big wheel?'
'No, I'm afraid not.'
'You pay five francs and go into a room with tiers of seats all around, and in the center the floor is made of a great disc of polished wood that revolves quickly. At first you sit down and watch the others. They are all trying to sit in the wheel, and they keep getting flung off, and that makes them laugh, and you laugh too. It's great fun.'
'I don't think that sounds very much like life,' said Paul rather sadly.
'Oh, but it is, though. You see, [...]'"


Sadly I must cut off there, because the passage that follows is a longer paragraph, and really continues for the next two successive paragraphs as well, and in a way it would give a certain kind of a spoiler. But, it's rather an adept and poignant view of life, and you must read the book for yourself to see what it is. It comes about rather unexpectedly (like most things in Waugh's satire, which is all completely unpredictable) and it just made me sit back and go "Well huh. How apt!" Waugh is always good for an interesting surprise.

Absolutely loved this, recommended to all who enjoy humorous intellectual looks at the world around them. ( )
1 vote PolymathicMonkey | Feb 4, 2014 |
It's official- Vile Bodies is my favorite early Waugh. This is funny, and quite clever. But, like in Handful of Dust, I'm unsure about the ending. It would've been fine, I think, if he hadn't gotten himself Potts as a friend. That was just too much. That said, I like the anger at the 'dynamics,' and the line 'quite right to suppress them' is so perfect that I can forgive most everything. The first third was a little dull. ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Decline and Fall is a marvellous first novel, years before it's time. Obviously read by Tom Sharp and all the Monty Python gang in their time. Witty, clever, cutting and very entertaining. My first ever Evelyn Waugh book many years ago, it made me a fan. Re-read over and over. ( )
  Novak | Dec 13, 2013 |
Decline and Fall is a dark satiric comedy about Paul Pennyfeather who is expelled from college when he loses his pants during a drunken celebration. His life, and the rest of the book, go downhill from there. Paul's life goes from teaching a school, to prison, and back to school. It was probably outrageously funny and clever when the book was written in the 1920's, but somehow the humor was lost on me. This was a disappointment because I found his book Brideshead Revisited to be a combination of wit and serious discussion. This book was lacking in both. ( )
  jmoncton | Jun 3, 2013 |
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Mr. Sniggs, the Junior Dean, and Mr. Postlethwaite, the Domestic Bursar, sat alone in Mr. Sniggs's room overlooking the garden quad at Scone College.
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"Sent down for indecent behaviour, eh?" said Paul Pennyfeather's guardian.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316926078, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Sent down in outrageous circumstances, Paul Pennyfeather is the new schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle. His colleagues are an assortment of misfits, rascals & fools. Sports day arrives, & as the farce unfolds & the young run riot, no one is safe.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187484, 0141193425

 

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