Home > 1920, British Literature, Novel, Waugh Evelyn > Nothing beats English politeness

Nothing beats English politeness

‘We want diner,’ said Adam, ‘and a room for the night.’
‘Darling, am I going to be seduced?’
‘I’m afraid you are. Do you mind terribly?’
‘Not as much as all that,’  said Nina, and added in Cockney, ‘Charmed, I’m sure.’

I just love this dialogue from Vile Bodied by Evelyn Waugh. You’ll never find anything like this in a French novel.

More of Waugh in an upcoming billet.

  1. July 20, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Emma, I thought the title of your post was ironically referring to English football hooliganism–this was quite the pleasant surprise although, of course, Evelyn’s hardly any name for a man! 😀

    Like

    • July 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Why would I discuss football and hooliganism? (Unless it’s in a book, of course.)
      Like you I have a hard time picturing a man with the name Evelyn as in French it’s only for women. (Same thing for Marion)

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  2. July 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Nice dialogue, Emma! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Waugh. By an interesting coincidence, I got this book recently 🙂

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    • July 20, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      That’s a funny coincidence. I’ll read your review and if I miss it, please be sure to remind me. I’m interested in reading your thoughts about it.

      Like

  3. Brian Joseph
    July 20, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Ha, Ha!

    I am currently reading Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. The manners and politeness are apparent there two. Even when characters are telling each other that they hate their listener’s guts they do so politely!

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    • July 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      I find this dialogue endearing. “Neat” is the adjective that comes to my mind.

      This kind of politeness is clichéd Englishness.

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  4. July 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    There’s a Stephen Fry film Bright Young Things (which was the original title) based on this novel if interested. I thought it was ok but not much more than that. It’s not easy transferring Waugh’s wit to screen.

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    • July 20, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      I’ve read about it. Making Vile Bodies into a film is as risky as making Syrup into a film. The taste of the book relies too much on the wit of the prose.

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  1. July 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

I love to hear your thoughts, thanks for commenting. Comments in French are welcome

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