The Complete Works Evelyn Waugh: Helena. Volume 11

Haslam, Sara ed. (2020). The Complete Works Evelyn Waugh: Helena. Volume 11. The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh, 11. UK: Oxford University Press.



This volume is part of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh critical edition, which brings together all Waugh's published and previously unpublished writings for the first time with comprehensive introductions and annotation, and a full account of each text's manuscript development and textual variants. The edition's General Editor is Alexander Waugh, Evelyn Waugh's grandson and editor of the twelve-volume Personal Writings sequence.

Set in the 4th century AD, and Waugh's only historical novel, Helena is the story of the mother of Emperor Constantine and her reputed discovery of the 'True Cross'. Waugh described Helena as his favourite among his works—in a Face to Face interview with John Freeman for the BBC in 1960, for example. His fictional account of Helena's widely-celebrated life and pilgrimage is the product of detailed historical research, and it contributes to our understanding of Waugh's views of the Church, both ancient and modern. Uniquely, however, Helena also demonstrates Waugh's interest in domestic politics set against a backdrop of significant historical acts.

This edition of Helena provides the first detailed textual history of the novel. Covering such matters as 'Publication History', 'Cultural Contexts', and 'Critical Reception', the introduction facilitates successful engagement with Waugh's novel from a variety of perspectives, as well as equipping the reader with detailed understanding of its fascinating and complex textual history. Readers are also furnished with a detailed set of explanatory notes which provide information about the people, places, events and texts referenced in Waugh's only historical novel, as well as pointing out links in theme or idea with others of Waugh's works.

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