Dialogues and a Diary

By Igor Stravinsky; Robert Craft | Go to book overview
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SOME PEOPLE

WRITERS

R.C.: What are your personal recollections of Evelyn Waugh, Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley?

I.S.: When I met Mr. Waugh, in New York in February 1949, his popping blue eyes looked upon me as an oddity, and I soon found that the cutting edge in the books was even sharper in the person. I was an admirer of Mr. Waugh's talent for dialogue and the naming of characters (Dr. Kakaphilos, Father Rothschild, S.J., etc.). In person I admired, even while suffering from, the agility with which he caused my remarks to boomerang. But whether Mr. Waugh was disagreeable, or only preposterously arch, I cannot say. Horace Walpole remarks somewhere that the next worst thing to disagreeableness is too-agreeableness. I would reverse the order of preference myself while conceding that on short acquaintance disagreeableness is the greater strain. I addressed Mr. Waugh in French, and he replied that he did not speak the language. (Ilis wife contradicted him charmingly, and was rebuked.) I asked whether he would care for a whisky and was told that "I do not drink whisky before meals," stated as a fact I should have known. I made an admiring remark about the Constitution of the United States and was reminded that Mr. Waugh is a Tory. I used the word music and was immediately informed that music is physical torment to Mr. Waugh. We

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