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Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Decline and Fall (1928)

by Evelyn Waugh

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2,471402,482 (3.88)184
  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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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 |
  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 .Monkey. | 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 |
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To Harold Acton
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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.
Chapter One:
"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 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.

» see all 6 descriptions

Legacy Library: Evelyn Waugh

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3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187484, 0141193425


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