Well, it’s taken a while but we finally did it – the entire back-catalogue of the Evelyn Waugh Newsletter (1967-1989), Evelyn Waugh Newsletter and Studies (1990-2010) and Evelyn Waugh Studies (2011-) is now available from Leicester special collections online. As well as being the source of the Waugh Corner’s Fiendish Friday Quizzes, the collection also boasts – amongst other things – Waugh’s own recipe for mulled claret (Vol. 7 No. 3), an account of his relationship with his tailors, Anderson and Sheppard, (Vol. 39 No.3), and some of the best new Waugh scholarship in the annual undergraduate essay prize.
It’s been a humbling experience working with this collection and looking back over almost 50 years of Waugh studies. Many of the editors on the Complete Works project have contributed to the newsletter, and its current general editor, John Howard Wilson, is taking charge of our new edition of A Little Learning – Waugh’s autobiography. It’s down to John’s generosity that this whole collection can be made available to everyone, free of charge – and the Waugh Corner is grateful for his practical help in chasing down copies of every last newsletter for inclusion here.
The existence of the collection is a reminder that all the work we are doing on the Complete Works builds on deep foundations. The newsletter charts the discovery of numerous primary Waugh materials, painstakingly tracked down, without which it would be impossible to produce our new scholarly editions. A study of its volumes is a study of the history of Waugh studies, and of literary research in general – the pool of contributors expands and has an increasingly international make-up, and the importance of online materials has grown as you would expect since Robert Murray Davis’ 1996 survey of Waugh materials available on the internet:
Newcomers to the Internet and other on-line services may wonder how to sort through the chit-chat to find the occasional pearl. A number of services help with the search, but beginners like me will find Yahoo (http: // www.yahoo.com [don’t use the parentheses]) most useful…Waugh or any other studies on the net are very primitive, and the sand/pearl ratio is high. If, however, enough people master the technology, it is possible to provide an interactive bibliography of Waugh which students may not only access but add to. Alexander Justice suggests the possibility of an open-ended Waugh handbook. No doubt younger and more ingenious students will see other possibilities. And even in its present state, the World Wide Web is an important tool for bibliography and research.
Wise words indeed, Bob (who is, incidentally, editing our new edition of Brideshead Revisited). Now we come full circle, and Evelyn Waugh Studies is itself a pretty big pearl in the sand.