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Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family Paperback – May 13, 2008
"My Father, the Pornographer" by Fang Lizhi
A son tries to understand his late father, by reading the 400-plus novels left to him in his father's will. Check out "My Father, the Pornographer".
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
(I rank the jacket's author photograph as one of my favorites.)
The title, FATHERS AND SONS, is perfect and evidently couldn't be resisted, even though that Russian fellow, Turgenev, had thought of it first. Mothers, and women in general, are of no consequence in this history of five generations of illustrious Waugh males. Of course, females played a role in bringing them into the world, but afterwards they receded quietly into the background and were heard from no more.
The progenitor of the most famous literary Waughs --- Evelyn and his son Auberon --- was Arthur Waugh, great-grandfather of Alexander, the author of this book. Arthur might have been the obvious starting point. But Alexander takes readers back one generation further --- to Dr. Alexander Waugh, FRCS, who is known to all of his descendants simply as "the Brute." He was a sadist "whose taste for flagellation never deserted him," who carried with him, wherever he went, an ivory-handled whip and an urge to use it. Stories of his brutish excesses continue to be passed down from generation to generation. A video made available on the Internet shows a Waugh toddler spitting on the Brute's headstone while an approving father or uncle stands in the background, beaming at his precocity.
The Brute's grandfather, Dr. [of Divinity] Alexander Waugh, known to the family as "The Great and Good," didn't make the cut for inclusion in this limited history.Read more ›
Is this biography by a family member to be judged unbiased? An adversarial opinion draws strength from the author's comment to his mother-in-law who had inquired what sex he hoped his in utero child would be. 'I don't particularly mind so long as it's a liar' he replied. And then, "a child is no good unless it is charged with fantasy and confidant enough to foist it upon others."
In many ways, this gives insight into what propelled the whole clan. While they thought they were acting justifiably in embroilments, they were primarily responding to what their circle expected of them. And that was to produce well-written and entertaining prose. Much of this book consists of long quotations from the authors' works, including diary entries and correspondence. The relationship between Evelyn and his father is the best developed and the old man's preference for Evelyn's less renoun brother Alec is deeply elaborated. Be assured that the author spares nothing for relations sake.Read more ›
If you are not a big Waugh fan, don't enter these pages. If you are, you'll love this bit of intimacy with the family tree and all its odd fruits.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting story of an interesting and brilliant literary family.Published 2 months ago by jdnorthc
The very famous Waugh literary dynasty gets the royal treatment here at the hands of one of its later members. Read morePublished 16 months ago by othoniaboys
I found a little difficult to read. I eventually gave up.Published 18 months ago by Daniel Sullivan
I do not remember when or where I first heard the name Evelyn Waugh. I suspect it was through repeated references to his writings in other books that I came to take up Brideshead... Read morePublished on February 18, 2013 by Wyman Richardson
Unfortunately, Alexander Waugh--author of this family autobiography--doesn't live up to the examples of his father (Auberon)and grandfather (Evelyn). Read morePublished on September 3, 2009 by sandra
A beautifully written detailed account of the professional, social and family lives of four generations of writers. From Dr. Read morePublished on May 17, 2009 by Alina Tortosa
Alexander Waugh writes with intimacy and honesty about his lineage. Stocked with access to intimate family papers and diaries of his father (Auberon Waugh), grandfather (Evelyn... Read morePublished on July 4, 2008 by John E. Drury
After hearing Alexander Waugh discuss this book on a radio program recently, I felt compelled to buy it. Read morePublished on May 24, 2008 by E. Hosch
This collective biography spans about six generations responsible for, one from the fifth generation tells us, about 180 books-- quite an average. Read morePublished on March 12, 2008 by John L Murphy