A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh Hardcover – 15 Jan 2019
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'An affectionate and admiring book... A Scribbler in Soho has its own charm.' --The Sunday Telegraph
'As Naim Attallah says in this wonderful anthology, Waugh felt he had a bounded duty to "sharpen his focus on everything and everybody he found ridiculous and pretentious."' --The Times
'Auberon Waugh had a witty way of confronting his enemies. We'll never see his like again.' --The Telegraph
About the Author
Naim Attallah is the chairman of Quartet Books. The former CEO of the Asprey group also co-founded the Academy Club with Auberon Waugh, supported the Literary Review and The Oldie for many years and has written three volumes of autobiography, as well as been involved in numerous productions for the theatre, cinema and television. He lives in London.
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Waugh loathed socialism. As a Tory he had very firm political and social beliefs. The author is a Palestinian businessman who owns Quartet Books. He has written this book using extracts from his subject's Private Eye diaries and his editorials from the Literary Review. This account features, for example, Waugh's merciless hounding of Jeremy Thorpe during the 1979 general election. Waugh stood against Thorpe and repeatedly made references to Thorpe's denial that he was gay. It was just one example of Auberon's prejudices which many found offensive. He hated modern art and described a good deal of modern literature as useless. Feminism and Aids were scorned. These and other prejudices feature in much of his writings. Seldom were they supported with reasons. He was a Catholic who argued that the manual working class was illiterate, and that women must never be ordained.
Politicians, he said were social cripples. This son of Evelyn and a mother with aristocratic links was, like his father, an out and out snob. Auberon said and acted as someone to whom rules and laws didn't apply. So he argued against the law banning drink driving. His determination to libel people he disliked got him in trouble again and again. For Waugh the world revolved around him.
The Guardian once said he was vicious, snobbish, luerile, and slightly psychopathetic. He loved it. Some critics applauded his death. Again, I am sure he would have been delighted for his critics failed to see that he had in his writings achieved his objectives, namely to annoy and arouse.
There was, however, another side to his character. During his National Service he was posted to Cyprus where in a bizarre accident he was shot in the chest by the machine gun on his armoured car. As a result he lost one lung, his spleen, some ribs and one finger. He was very lucky to survive. Survive he did but he was never free of pain and infections for the rest of his life. The author relates how despite this Waugh continued to work, and treated his junior colleagues with courtesy and regard.
The accident revealed the bad relationship with his father. Evelyn frequent bullied Auberon as a child and on occasion ridiculed him in front of others. In spite of this he idolised his father. It is believed thst the snobbery in his writings is based on Evelyn.
Waugh was a philosopher, an eccentric one. He had a genius for dividing his readers into two camps: the delighted and the infuriated. He was a master at starting an argument. Since he died, no other writer has replaced him. No one has his talent for turning mundane news into funny flights of fancy. He saw a world of bores and bullies and changed it into a bizarre and outrageous one. Waugh exposed the shallowness and pomposity of politicians. He could be wickedly witty. The vanity of our rulers made him angry, but it amused him even more. He has been described as a virtuoso of the vituperative arts. He had a gift for saying what most people least wanted to hear. He could even begin a quarrel from beyond the grave - see Polly Toynbee's comments in the Guardian shortly after his death.
This is the nearest thing yet to a fully fledged biography.