For literature buffs and history enthusiasts, this is the first biography to compare George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh - two of the greatest 20th century English writers.
Both authors need little introduction. Orwell and Waugh were born in 1903, and there the resemblance seems (at first) to end. The savagely sarcastic Waugh was rich and famous in his twenties, and a champion social climber who married into the aristocracy and became a country squire, a strict conservative, and a devout Catholic. His life was a succession of parties with the most glamorous people of his generation. And in between his wild revels he managed to write peerless comic novels, and a great elegy to lost splendour, Brideshead Revisited. Orwell was a tall, gaunt man who dedicated his life to fighting the English class system. He fought fascism in Spain, and under conditions of severe adversity he wrote essays as great as any in the language. He died young, at 46, and left behind two of the most widely read books in all of literature, Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Yet, all appearances to the contrary, the party-loving snob and the dour socialist were in many ways the same man. They were among the few of their peers who saw what the future - our time - would bring. And they hated it. Their lives were dedicated to warning us what was coming - a world of material wealth but few values, a pointless existence without tradition or community or common purposes; lives measured in dollars, not sense. The Same Man tells their parallel stories with warmth, humour, and a fresh eye towards the past and present.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 09 / 2008