Auberon Waugh, the journalist and novelist was born on November 17, 1939. He was the eldest son of Evelyn Waugh, and never quite escaped from the shadow of his famous (and famously disagreeable) father.
Waugh (who was known to family, friends and colleagues by the diminutive name “Bron”) suffered a serious and bizarre injury at the age of 18 while performing his national service in the British Army.
He accidentally shot several bullets into himself while attempting to adjust a machine gun on his armoured vehicle. This led to multiple surgeries and life-long chronic pain.
Waugh wrote five novels before turning to journalism. I started reading one of his novels but abandoned it out of boredom, but I enjoyed his lead pieces for The Literary Review, which he edited. He specialized in what the British call “snark,” negative comments with an elitist slant.
He also wrote for The Spectator and Private Eye, where he inhabited a conservative persona in humorous pieces. I didn’t always get the chance to read his journalism at the time, but thanks to the Internet I’ve caught up with him since.
I disagreed with him on almost everything but I enjoyed his style and his verbal vitriol. I’m still not sure how much of what he said he really believed and how much was a pose. He died in 2001 at the age of sixty-one.