Decline and Fall is Hilarious but Mostly Horrible


I’ve always known that Evelyn Waugh makes fun of his “upper class” country men in 1920’s England. But I didn’t know that he was so blatantly funny. I thought Decline and Fall would be a subtle parody of the rich and famous at the time but it’s actually in-your-face, morbid humour.

In other words, I loved it.

Within the first chapter, Pennyfeather, our antihero, is thrown out of priest school after being publicly disrobed by a group of students at the fictional Scone College at Oxford. From there, the plot thickens because he ends up teaching at Llanabba, a ridiculous public school which rarely teaches anything. By the way, “public schools” in England are actually the equivalent to “private schools” in US/ Canada in that the government doesn’t fund them. These are privileged rich kids, you see. But they make Gossip Girl characters seem homely.

The story gets progressively more ludicrous from here on. At one point, Pennyfeather is thrown into jail and placed in solitary confinement. And he likes it!

Waugh obviously knew this world well as he was part of this elite group of rich kids in the 1920’s. I was impressed by his dry wit and humour. More than anything, you realize that Waugh is thoroughly bored out of his mind with this world and loves nothing more than to mock it. And despite being published in the 1920’s, it is highly, highly relatable to the world today.

Photo credits: fashionserved.comflickr.com

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Decline and Fall is Hilarious but Mostly Horrible

  1. Pingback: Year In Review | Broken Penguins

  2. Pingback: The Starboard Sea reminds you that growing up is damn hard | Broken Penguins

  3. Pingback: The Starboard Sea reminds you that growing up is damn hard | Broken Penguins

  4. Pingback: Before there was Paris Hilton, there was Vile Bodies | Broken Penguins

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s