Main content

Decline and Fall

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Evelyn Waugh's comic novel Decline and Fall, published when the author was 25.

David Bradshaw, John Bowen and Ann Pasternak Slater join Melvyn Bragg to discuss Evelyn Waugh's comic novel Decline and Fall. Set partly in a substandard boys' public school, the novel is a vivid, often riotous portrait of 1920s Britain. Its themes, including modernity, religion and fashionable society, came to dominate Waugh's later fiction, but its savage wit and economy of style were entirely new. Published when Waugh was 24, the book was immediately celebrated for its vicious satire and biting humour.


David Bradshaw
Professor of English Literature at Worcester College, Oxford

John Bowen
Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of York

Ann Pasternak Slater
Senior Research Fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 21 Feb 2013 21:30


Professor David Bradshaw at the University of Oxford


Professor John Bowen at the University of York


The Evelyn Waugh Society


An Evelyn Waugh Website


Decline and Fall - Wikipedia





Mark Amory (ed.), Letters of Evelyn Waugh (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980)


Michael Brennan, Evelyn Waugh: Fictions, Faith and Family (Bloomsbury, 2013)


Paula Byrne, Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead (HarperPress, 2009)


Humphrey Carpenter, The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989)


Michael Davie (ed.), The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976)


Frances Donaldson, Evelyn Waugh: Portrait of a Country Neighbour (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1968)


Donat Gallagher (ed.), The Essays, Articles and Reviews of Evelyn Waugh (Methuen, 1983)


Selina Hastings, Evelyn Waugh: A Biography (Vintage, 1995)


Douglas Lane Patey, The Life of Evelyn Waugh: A Critical Biography (Blackwell, 1998)


Ann Pasternak Slater (ed.), Evelyn Waugh: The Complete Short Stories (Everyman, 1998)


Martin Stannard, Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years, 1903-1939 (Dent, 1986)


F. J. Stopp, Evelyn Waugh: Portrait of an Artist (Chapman & Hall, 1958)


Christopher Sykes, Evelyn Waugh: A Biography (Collins, 1975)


Alexander Waugh, Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family (Headline, 2004)


Evelyn Waugh, A Little Learning: The First Volume of an Autobiography (published first 1964, various publishers)


Evelyn Waugh, No Abiding City: 1939-1966 (Dent, 1992)


Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies (published first 1930, various publishers)



  • Thu 21 Feb 2013 09:00
  • Thu 21 Feb 2013 21:30

Featured in...

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

The In Our Time Listeners' Top 10

If you’re new to In Our Time, this is a good place to start.

Arts and Ideas podcast

Arts and Ideas podcast

Download the best of Radio 3's Free Thinking programme.