WAUGH AND HEYGATE Collection of letters to Sir John Heygate, largely concerning Evelyn Waugh, his posthumous reputation and Heygate's elopement with the first Mrs Waugh

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Lot 390
Collection of letters to Sir John Heygate, largely concerning Evelyn Waugh, his posthumous reputation and Heygate's elopement with the first Mrs Waugh ('She Evelyn'), 1953-76

Sold for £ 3,562 (US$ 4,899) inc. premium
Collection of letters to Sir John Heygate, largely concerning Evelyn Waugh, his posthumous reputation and Heygate's elopement with the first Mrs Waugh ('She Evelyn'), correspondents including:

(i) Acton (Harold) Eleven autograph letters and a postcard, about Waugh and their mutual friends ("...In reality you did Evelyn the best of turns, certainly from a creative point of view... I like all his books except 'Brideshead Revisited'... A lot of the malignancy seems to me sheer posturing – a public attitude to which it amused him to cling. Eventually the basic sensitiveness seems to have been squashed. Sad in retrospect... Strange that Evelyn's first wife should have been so affected by those diaries, which strike me a mostly tired or drunken jottings as aids to memory... I'm trying to sort out Nancy Mitford's letters, which have been lent to me by various friends. She was a voluminous correspondent. Very lively and malicious. I begin to feel I have bitten off more than I can chew. I was very fond of Nancy personally, but never one of her literary fans... I doubt whether Unity Mitford is a suitable subject for a biography but David P-J thinks he has found some sensational material in Germany – probably not authentic... I dread the publication of Evelyn's diaries..."), 1970-76

(ii) Betjeman (John) Some twenty largely typed letters, mostly about their shared passion for railways and railway stations ("...St Pancras is listed and therefore saved if we keep our fingers crossed but all the other city stations are doomed..."), one illustrated with a view of a terminal, 1969-73

(iii) Heathcoat-Amory (Mark) Typed letter, written when editor of Waugh's letters ("...if you have kept the postcard referred to... or any other correspondence from Waugh..."), 18 February 1976

(iv) Mitford (Diana) Two autograph letters, about the Nuremberg Rally of 1935, Frank Buchman [of MRA fame] and the Pryce-Jones biography of Unity ("...My sister & I were at the 1935 Parteitag... I can't remember whether she saw Buchman, but I know she looked upon him as a bit of joke..."), 1975-76

(v) Nightingale (Evelyn, formerly Heygate, formerly Waugh, formerly Gardner) Seven autograph letters, largely about her marriage to Waugh and his biographers: "I think you will agree that we were all three extremely immature & I know I remained that way until Benedict was born. I hated authority but Evelyn relied on it because it was one of the things that gave him social security. For years I thought that he married me in order to get into what he believed to be the aristocracy – and also because I looked rather boyish", undated [but c.1974-5]

(vi) Quennell (Peter) Five autograph and typed letters, about his contribution to The World of Evelyn Waugh and other topics ("...Christopher Sykes... certainly ought to meet 'the other Evelyn' – I'm afraid I don't know her present surname. I think that it is particularly important just now, after the publication of those dismal (&, as edited by a Fleet Street hack, largely misleading) diaries..."), 1954 and 1967-73

(vii) Reitlinger (Gerald) Series of some thirty-five typed letters, about his art-historical work, especially his Economics of Taste, the Rothko scandal, the Goya portrait of Wellington, etc.; as well as his studies of the Third Reich ("...Yes I did a bit of local-colour hunting on the spot. The best discovery was Himmlers statistician whom I interviewed in a Munich hotel-lounge. Everytime he mentioned Himmlers name the whole passenger list jumped out of their armchairs as if they had been shot. Having tried to live away from the beastly Nazis for more than a year, I am at it again..."); with references to fellow members of the Waugh and Powell circles, including Christopher Sykes ("...I am fascinated that Christopher Sykes is writing a life of Evelyn Waugh but I dont think he is quite the man for it. His speciality is loyalty, the last thing one wants in a biographer..."), 1953-76

(viii) Sykes (Christopher) Autograph letter and postcard, written while writing his biography of Waugh ("...I do not wish to give this episode more prominence than it deserves. I see it as the imprudent end to a match imprudently and frivolously undertaken. It inflicted pain on Evelyn Waugh but not permanent or distorting pain... In the account, as I have it in my draft, I have not mentioned your name. I have barely mentioned Evelyn Gardner's..."), postmarked 18 July 1974

(ix) Waugh (Auberon) Three autograph and typed letters, discussing the failure of his father's first marriage ("...I don't think any male can blame another for misdemeanours in the sexual field unless his own vanity and affections are involved. Mine aren't, and one could reasonably argue that I owe my existence to your intervention. So perk up...") and asking for his help, thinking it would be amusing to have him listed among the acknowledgements, 1973-76


  • 'I OWE MY EXISTENCE TO YOUR INTERVENTION. SO PERK UP' – letters to Sir John Heygate, the man who ran off with the first Mrs Waugh.
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