Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Waugh's War Trilogy

From Reid's Reader:
Given this, then, I was reluctant to read Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy. Indeed, its three volumes have sat unread on my shelves for many years and I roused myself to read them for the first time in the summer holidays just past. Sword of Honour first appeared as the three separate novels Men at Arms (1952), Officers and Gentlemen (1955) and Unconditional Surrender (1961). The gap between the appearance of the second and third volumes is explained by the fact that Waugh had had a nervous breakdown at that time (partly exacerbated by his heavy drinking), about which he wrote in his novel The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957). Only after all three novels had been published separately did they acquire the title Sword of Honour and get published together – and before that happened, Waugh made some excisions and emendations to the text. But I have read the three books in first editions, as they were originally presented to the public, and it is upon them that my comments are based. To dispose of the basic stuff first – the three novels recount, in the third-person, the experiences of Guy Crouchback in the British Army in the Second World War. (Read more.)

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