Monday, September 04, 2006
The Varieties of Irreligious Experience
Do you suppose the title for Evelyn Waugh’s novel derives from Philippians 3:21 “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”? Or do you suppose it is derived from the Latin medical precept: fiat experimentum in corporii vili. “Let experiments be made on vile [worthless] bodies [corpses]”?
“Oh, Nina, what a lot of parties.”
(... Masked parties, Savage parties, Victorian parties, Greek parties, Wild West parties, Russian parties, Circus parties, parties where one had to dress as somebody else, almost naked parties in St. John’s Wood, parties in flats and studios and houses and ships and hotels and night clubs, in windmills and swimming baths, tea parties at school where one ate muffins and meringues and tinned crab, parties at Oxford where one drank brown sherry and smoked Turkish cigarettes, dull dances in London and comic dances in Scotland and disgusting dances in Paris - all that succession and repetition of massed humanity ... Those vile bodies ...)
Ah… good times.
Yes. Some people say Waugh is the original Bright Young Fogey. But perhaps Paul is the true original.
I’m positive I’ve read that Waugh explicitly identified that Philippians reference in a letter somewhere, but I wouldn’t know where to look to find the reference.
Incidentally, the Stephen Fry adaptation, though it moves the concluding events forward into World War II and gives a couple of Waugh’s characters some redemption they didn’t receive in the book, is really very good, I think.
Yes, the film is pretty solid. I watched it twice!