Buy Used
$3.99
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by -bearbooks-
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: USED book, some wear from reading and creases. Qualifies for PRIME and FREE SHIPPING!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Black Mischief Paperback – December, 1977


See all 57 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover, Import
"Please retry"
$4.39
Paperback, December, 1977
$4.80 $0.01
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$4.90
Audio, Cassette
"Please retry"
$99.99
Best%20Books%20of%202014
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Hero Quick Promo
Year-End Kindle Daily Deals
Load your library with great books for $2.99 or less each, today only. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Little Brown & Co (P) (December 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316926094
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316926096
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,424,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

7 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

About the Author

Evelyn Waugh was born in Hampstead in 1903. His first novel, Decline and Fall, was soon followed by Vile Bodies (1930), Black Mischief (1932), A Handful of Dust (1934) and Scoop (1938). In 1942 he published Put Out More Flags and then in 1945 Brideshead Revisited. When the Going was Good and The Loved One preceded Men at Arms, which came out in 1952, the first volume of 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, and won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The other volumes, Officers and Gentlemen and Unconditional Surrender, followed in 1955 and 1961. In 1964 he published his last book, A Little Learning, the first volume of an autobiography. For many years he lived with his wife and six children in the West Country. He died in 1966. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Waugh was possibly the greatest and sharpest satirist of the 20th Century and this is possibly his greatest and sharpest novel.
Paul Goring
Certainly Waugh is a major English writer of his (or any other) time but it is not the case, in my view, that all of his books deserve four or five stars.
James Ellsworth
As one would expect, the dialogue is acutely observed and very funny at times, but most modern readers may well want more than that to sustain interest.
Dr. W. H. Konarzewski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Paul Goring on September 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
I suspect this classic novel is out of print in the US for reasons of misguided political correctness, which is a great shame for this is probably Waugh's finest and funniest novel. (Penguin Books in the UK publish a copy which is available on the www.amazon.co.uk site).
Black, Oxford-educated Seth ("Emperor of Azania,Chief of the Chiefs of Sakuyu, Lord of Wanda and Tyrant of the Seas, Bachelor of the Arts of Oxford University")attempts to reform his backward, corrupt African nation with the aid of an amoral Englishman, Basil Seal. This being Waugh, all ends hilariously tragically. All the usual Waugh-like elements are here: the "disappearing hero" (ie non-active protagonist); the comic but desperately tragic fate of the main characters; the utterly misogynistic & unsympathetic view of all mankind; and all written with his usual, biting, elegant, hilarious satire. This novel is not racist. It may be a trifle politically incorrect to our enlightened generation (political correctness of course meaning that we think it but don't say it)but as with all novels more than 20 years old we have to read it in the light of the attitudes and opinions of the era in which it is written and this novel is a very accurate and funny reflection of the attitudes of the 1930's.
Despite the novel's title, the satire is aimed at all races and ethnic groups, with the white British Legation (portrayed as ignorant, inane, out-of-touch idiots) coming in for the bitterest attacks. Indeed, if our sympathies lie anywhere, it is with the well-meaning, likeable but ultimately ill-advised black emperor, Seth. Waugh was possibly the greatest and sharpest satirist of the 20th Century and this is possibly his greatest and sharpest novel.
Read more ›
7 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By L. Dann on June 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
The only humor today that even comes close to that of Black Mischief, is ironically, that of the outrageous, black comedians- otherwise Waugh rules.
The whole concept of the British in exotic countries is a farce, and when mixed with Waugh's equally lunatic native characters face to face with bizarre and inexplicable Western civilization- whew- anything could and does happen. There are no noble characters, of course, but redeeming fools, which is about as good as one can get in a Wauvian satire. My favorites are the animal rights ladies who come to Africa to see that the natives are treating their livestock well. These ladies, one named Miss Tin, land in the midst of a revolution and have to hit a driver in the head with a brandy bottle to get a ride to the English settlement. They followed a fellow anti-vivesectionist cleric who led the ministry of our `dumb chums.'
There is every kind of European religion stirring up trouble and as usual, the British are completely sequestered amongst themselves preoccupied with their gardens and other habits in blissful and selfish ignorance. The leader of these Imperialists is described as "a self-assured old booby." One of the titled females is named `Lady Everyman.'
The political relevance is so acute that it seems impossible that this was written in 1932. Waugh even seems to have some political consciousness in this book, certainly, he is gentler, on the whole while being enduringly funny. I would definitely place this as my second favorite Waugh. It has a gripping end and is a statement less of bigotry, (of which he probably was one, but who wasn't,) but also of the need to reevaluate what in the name of God all of the colonizing was about.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Having recently read a review of some of Waugh's works in the Weekly Standard that mentioned that Black Mischief ( affectionately known to afficionados as BM) was out of print, I dug out a mid-1960s double paperback edition from Dell Publishing to find out how racist or politically incorrect it could possibly be. To my delight, the writing is crisp and wicked; I finished it in two days, laughing aloud at least three times.
This was more than 30 years after I originally read this novel. The portrait of colonialism and the folly of progress shines through quite as much as its utter lack of sentimentality about human beings. If anything, I came away this time with more sympathy for Basil Seal, the Emperor Seth and the savage tribesmen as tragic figures doomed in the first two cases by their own delusions of creating the future and in the last case, the lack of understanding of their inevitable doom. Of course this book should be republished and reread.
A few racist words written in the context of the early 1930s should not deter us from enjoying pure misogynist fun.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sarazani@asuwlink.com Malcolm Whynott on August 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Basil Seal, bored with predictable london sets off to witness political revoultion in Africa, paid for by the timely theft of his mother's prize emerald brooch. An hilarious and biting satire of anyone and everything, including himself. Brilliantly morbid, In Black Mischief Waugh has definitly found his voice and once again delights his fans who take vicarious pleasure from his efforts
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Black Mischief" is not a safe book; it delves into racial and political divides as wide now as then and lets you know its author isn't aboard for any of that 21st-century sensitivity rot. Despite or perhaps because of this it is a good book, perhaps a great book, and worthy of your time.

In the island nation of Azania, just off the coast of East Africa, Oxford-educated Emperor Seth attempts to force his backward, war-torn nation to emulate the West. Help arrives in the form of a British ne'er-do-well, Basil Seal, "a man of progress and culture" as Seth styles him. This of course means Seal is trouble as well.

As I read deeper into "Black Mischief", I was struck by two things. One was how easily it flowed, not only with Waugh's always elegant prose but the plot itself. Waugh isn't ordinarily so clean a scenarist. The other was how like Joseph Conrad's "Nostromo" this is, making the same points about First World meeting Third World. Except where "Nostromo" was clumsy and dry, Waugh sells his message with wit and surreal humor.

He even goes to the trouble of mapping out Azania, which helps a lot given it is a nation entirely of Waugh's own imagining. As the characters cross its expanse, I found myself referring back to the map in front and enjoying how well it matched up with the narrative.

When I picked up "Black Mischief", I was concerned about the obvious racial aspects. Waugh was capable of writing hurtful things about blacks as well as other groups Waugh experienced from a distance. "Remote People," published in 1931 just one year before "Black Mischief", presents Africans in the role of bloody-minded savages.

Well, there are plenty of savages in "Black Mischief", too, only most of the ones we get to know best and like least are European.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?