Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Greenberg

Committee Member

Rita Jacobs

Committee Member

Janet Cutler


This thesis explores representations of newspapers and journalists in Evelyn Waugh’s novels, focusing specifically on Vile Bodies, Scoop and Brides head Revisited. The central argument of the thesis is that Waugh’s depiction of the newspaper industry is highly similar to his portrayals of modernity. In Waugh’s novels, newspapers, like modernity, cause tremendous problems for his characters. Even with these flaws, however, newspapers retain some overall value for society. In addition to providing insight into Waugh’s views of journalism, this thesis places Waugh’s novels in a historical context with a thorough examination of British journalism history.

The thesis is divided into three chapters. Chapter 1 explores the function of newspaper readership in Waugh’s novels. The fact that Waugh’s characters read the newspaper has a profound impact on individual and societal behavior within the novels. Chapter 2 concentrates on Waugh’s presentation of the newspaper business. Using a Marxist theoretical framework, the chapter shows how Waugh is deeply critical of the newspaper industry while remaining sympathetic to reporters. The third chapter focuses entirely on Brideshead Revisited, describing how individual members of an aristocratic family respond to the constant barrage of newspaper articles detailing their lives. With his analysis, Waugh both derides and preserves an era of journalism history that has come to be regarded as the industry’s golden age.

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