Evelyn Waugh and I went to the same school. And even though I showed up 40 years after him, the ethos- anglo-catholic, dandyish, decadent- hadn't changed a great deal. It shaped him, it shaped me- and when I read him- especially the early books- I feel like he's winking at me- that we're co-conspirators in a plot against teachers, parents, prefects, chaplains and- well- everything there is.
There's a joke in Decline and Fall which only an Old Lanconian could possibly get.
Decline and Fall is his first novel- also his purest and funniest. His attitudes hadn't hardened, he hadn't been nobbled by the Catholics- the irreverence is broadcast far and wide and no-one escapes.