Decline and Fall

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The first novel of E. Waugh, published with great success in 1928.

It recounts the chequered career of Paul Pennyfeather, sent down from Scone College, Oxford, for ‘indecent behaviour’, as the innocent victim of a drunken orgy. Thus forced to abandon a career in the church, he becomes a schoolmaster at Llanabba Castle, where he encounters headmaster Fagan and his daughters, the dubious, bigamous, and reappearing Captain Grimes, and young Beste‐Chetwynde, whose glamorous mother Margot carries him off to the dangerous delight of high society. They are about to be married when Paul is arrested at the Ritz, and subsequently imprisoned for Margot's activities in the white slave trade; however, Margot (now Margot Metroland) arranges his escape, and he returns incognito, but under his own name, to resume his theological studies at Scone.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Evelyn Waugh (1903—1966) writer