Posted by Lexington Green on June 18th, 2003 (All posts by Lexington Green)
This year is the centenary of the two greatest writers in English of the last century: Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell. I hope to put up a substantial post about them both at some point. But for now, check out this and this interview with Waugh.
Interviewer: You are in favour of capital punishment?
EW: For an enormous number of offences, yes.
Interviewer: And you yourself would be prepared to carry it out?
EW: Do you mean, actually do the hangman’s work?
EW: I should think it very odd for them to choose a novelist for such tasks.
This very good essay, about V.S. Naipaul astutely notes a certain type of “conservatism” which was shared by Kipling, Conrad, Waugh and (despite his being professedly a “man of the Left”) Orwell. Waugh is quoted as saying this about Kipling:
He believed civilization to be something laboriously achieved which was only precariously defended. He wanted to see the defenses fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms.
That still sounds about right.