Decline and Fall


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By Evelyn Waugh

Expelled from Oxford for “indecent behavior,” Paul Pennyfeather accepts a position as junior assistant master at Llanabba Castle, a Welsh public school. There he is charged, in spite of his complete and utter lack of qualification, with teaching a wide array of subjects—Classics, German, French, carpentry, and music (specifically, organ lessons)—and collaborating and conspiring with his gloriously careless colleagues, Captain Grimes, Mr. Prendergast, and Philbrick, the butler. The dawning of Sports Day sees the students of Llanabba enjoy (or endure) an array of athletic events; more importantly, however, it introduces Paul to Margot Beste-Chetwynde, an intoxicating breath of scented air which will waft Paul from delight to delight and, eventually, to disaster.

To Fortune, a much-maligned lady!

A blithely, brilliantly accomplished satire, Decline and Fall is an extravagant send-up of self-indulgent high society. Through this world of decadence, depravity, and downright silliness, Waugh leads his delightful characters on a merry dance which has lost none of its hilarity since it first appeared in 1928.


Evelyn Waugh (1903–1966) was an English Catholic writer. Acclaimed by Graham Greene as the greatest novelist of their generation, Waugh wrote more than a dozen novels as well as numerous essays, short stories, and works of biography and travelogue. In addition to his best-known novel, Brideshead Revisited (1945), his fiction includes A Handful of Dust (1934), The Loved One (1948), and Helena (1950), and his 1959 biography of Monsignor Ronald Knox (for whom he served as literary executor) is an exemplar of its genre.

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Paperback: 250pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952747