Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge
Remember Sebastian’s teddy bear Aloysius? Turns out Waugh based this delightful little eccentricity on one of his friend’s at Oxford who indeed carried a stuffed bear ("Archie") around with him. (http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/Book1Chapter1.html)
The scene where Charles, Boy, and Sebastian get arrested and spend the evening drunk in jail is based on Waugh’s own experience with…getting arrested and spending the evening drunk in jail. (http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/AmBook1Chapter5.html)
Waugh thought that English Lit was the most useless major in college.(http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/Monitor.html#Trade)
Evelyn Waugh’s first wife was also named Evelyn. Friends called them "he-Evelyn and she-Evelyn." (http://www.newpartisan.com/home/sponge-cakes-with-gooseberry-fool-evelyn-waugh-was-odd.html)
Waugh contributed a recipe to As We Like It: Cookery Recipes by Famous People. As you should expect, it had everything to do with booze. Here it is:
Supposedly Waugh based Charles and Sebastian’s first inauspicious meeting on an experience of his own (that would be someone puking into his first floor room window, if you haven’t read the novel recently). (http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/)
Waugh titled one of his novels A Handful of Dust with a line taken from The Waste Land, the same poem from which Anthony recites in Brideshead Revisited.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was one of Waugh’s favorite books. (http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/)
As a young man, Waugh tried to commit suicide by swimming out to sea and drowning himself. On the way, he was stung by jellyfish and so returned to shore to nurse his injury. (http://www.newpartisan.com/home/sponge-cakes-with-gooseberry-fool-evelyn-waugh-was-odd.html)
Waugh was once fired from a teaching post for trying to get the matron into bed. (http://www.newpartisan.com/home/sponge-cakes-with-gooseberry-fool-evelyn-waugh-was-odd.html)
It wasn’t just alcohol – Waugh was a pretty serious drug user, too. It was a running gag (except for not being funny at all) for him to declare giving up opiates every Lent. (http://www.newpartisan.com/home/sponge-cakes-with-gooseberry-fool-evelyn-waugh-was-odd.html)
Just like the fictional Charles, Waugh was also in the military and hated it. He was so unpopular that he needed a guard posted at his door while he slept – to protect him from his own men.
After Brideshead Revisited was published, Evelyn Waugh wrote a short story called "Charles Ryder’s Schooldays" about Charles’s time at Oxford. It was never published.
Check out paragraphs three and four of the second book of Brideshead, where Charles waxes poetic about the nature of memory. Waugh cut these out when he revised his novel years after its publication. (http://www.abbotshill.freeserve.co.uk/)