A Late Iron Age Fortress North of Jerusalem by Gabriel Barkay, Alexander Fantalkin, Oren Tal

By Gabriel Barkay, Alexander Fantalkin, Oren Tal

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Her use of the term ‘baroque conceit’ reflects Waugh’s own phraseology in his letter to Henry Yorke: ‘I think I agree that the Todd episode is fantastic. It is a “conceit” in the Webster manner’ (No. 55). The most enthusiastic and stimulating comments of contemporary ‘critics’ appear in Waugh’s private correspondence (see Sykes, pp. 141–3). Desmond MacCarthy, Hilaire Belloc, Rebecca West, Lord David Cecil and Maurice Baring all expressed unreserved admiration. Priestley and Henry Yorke, however, had complaints.

28). Later (1946), Rose Macaulay suggested that the society depicted is characterized by pervasive philistinism, divorced from ‘intellectuality, culture, artistic or literary sensibility’ (No. 30). By the time the Uniform Edition was published in 1965, ‘Vile Bodies’ was firmly established in the canon of Waugh’s work. Waugh expressed distaste for it in his preface but reviewers still delighted in its brittle humour and ‘mannered ruthlessness’ (John Davenport, ‘Spectator’, 7 May 1965, 607). It has not died with the age it documents like Arlen’s ‘The Green Hat’ but survives for new readers both as a mordant, fantastical satire on hedonism and as a work of ‘historical interest’ (Davenport, ‘Spectator’).

His correspondence confirms this and also his concern with the smallest detail. At one stage he wrote to Penelope Betjeman asking to stay at her house so that he might conveniently visit the grange where Campion had been arrested. Rose Macaulay’s accusation in 1946 that Waugh had not read the relevant State Papers and correspondence had been refuted by the author at the time of publication in answer to similar criticisms from another quarter (No. 62). As Mr Quennell noted, however, ‘the Catholic point of view underlies every paragraph’ (No.

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