Books: Beneath the Thorny Carapace

THE LETTERS OF EVELYN WAUGH Edited by Mark Amory Ticknor & Fields; 664 pages; $25

Before he began the task of sifting through some 4,500 surviving letters by Evelyn Waugh, Editor Mark Amory wondered if the author's handwriting was difficult to read. A friend reassured him: "No, no, you see he wrote his letters in the morning, when he was sober. He wrote his diary at night when he was drunk." On the evidence of the 840 letters collected here, Waugh sometimes tippled while he corresponded, but the contrast between this book and his Diaries (published in 1977) is as vivid...

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