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

by Evelyn Waugh

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,606422,297 (3.85)194
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 194 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
As much as I liked Vile Bodies, Waugh's other books just leave me cold.

There is wit, and then there is spite. Waugh just somehow doesn't seem to be able to rise above the latter.

Yes, there are some fine caricatures, but what spoils them is that Waugh tries too hard at times and comes across as nothing more that a bitter and self-important cynic.

I have one other of his books but it just moved down (quite) a few places on my TBR.

Review first posted on BookLikes: http://brokentune.booklikes.com/post/1006750/decline-and-fall ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
The first hundred pages or so of this novel are among the funniest I have ever read. I urge you to read it. Much of the humour throughout the book is caustic satire. What really made me laugh were the unexpected and perfectly turned comments from various characters. The protagonist is entirely passive. Things happen around him and to him. Were it not for its brevity, the novel would have dragged for me because I find it hard to identify with a character that doesn't really care about himself. That's a very personal reaction though. Don't let it put you off if you like a good laugh. ( )
  Lukerik | Jul 26, 2016 |
A picaresque novel in the tradition of Lazarillo de Tormes, etc, only in 20th century England. Completely absurd, and funny, and even more absurd.

**spoilers below!**

Paul Pennyfeather is expelled from his college (I think--this novel would be much more enjoyable for someone who understands the English school system and old money/new money/titled social expectations) for "indecency" for accidentally crossing paths with a rich student's drunken mob.

He then becomes a school master at a boarding school in Wales. A sloppily run boarding school--so how does it attract wealthy students? That is not answered. Or maybe they are all like this?

He quits and gets engaged to one of his students' mothers. All is going swimmingly until he is arrested for white slavery while doing a business favor for his fiance. He is sent to prison. His fiance marries someone else. They arrange for him to get out of prison and fake his death. He goes along with it all, and ends up back in school to be a clergyman.

Meanwhile, he meets the same people over and over--he ends up in prison with another employee of the boarding school, while the school's chaplain is now the prison chaplain and so on and so forth. There is a lot of sarcasm and wit regarding British society and culture, but I definitely do not have the background needed to find it as funny as it probably is.

All in less than 200 pages. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
Frank Kermode's introduction to the 1993 Everyman's Library edition does an excellent job of connecting Decline and Fall to Waugh's development as a novelist and as a human being generally. His perception of the roots of Waugh's later religious convictions struck me as subtle. Great value-added to a novel which seemed easier to laugh at when I first read it in heartless early youth, when scorn for human folly was untinged with compassion.
1 vote booksaplenty1949 | Sep 19, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Waughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bentley/Farrell/Burn…Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradshaw, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maloney, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ott, AndreaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Harold Acton
In Homage and Affection
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Prelude:
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.
Chapter One:
"Sent down for indecent behaviour, eh?" said Paul Pennyfeather's guardian.
Quotations
I have been in the scholastic profession long enough to know that nobody enters it unless he has some very good reason which he is anxious to conceal.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:22 -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 6 descriptions

Legacy Library: Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187484, 0141193425

 

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