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part of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh critical edition, which brings together all Waugh's published and previously unpublished writings for the first time with comprehensive introductions and annotation, and a full account of each text's manuscript development and textual variants.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.
In a writing career populated with characters and situations drawn closely from life, A Little Learning is unique. It is Waugh's only finished, book-length work of autobiography, describing his ancestors and early childhood before arriving at boarding school in the South Downs and the Oxford University experiences that inspired his best-known work, Brideshead Revisited (1945). A Little Learning was intended to be the first of three autobiographical volumes, but Waugh died before more than a fragment of its successor, A Little Hope, was completed, making A Little Learning his last book.
In this new critical edition, John Howard Wilson and Barbara Cooke lay out the complex literary and cultural inheritance of A Little Learning, and discuss the circumstances of its composition in a rapidly changing world from which Waugh felt increasingly isolated. For the first time, all the surviving fragments of A Little Hope are reproduced in full, and the volume brings together all Waugh's major radio, TV, and magazine interviews which span his thirty-year career.
Barbara Cooke received a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of East Anglia in 2013 and became Research Associate for the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project the same year. As well as her forthcoming Evelyn Waugh's Oxford (Bodleian Publishing), Dr Cooke has written on travelogues, twentieth century (auto)biography, and power struggles in the post-colonial world.
John Howard Wilson was the founder of the Evelyn Waugh society and served on the Advisory Board of the Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh project.