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Biographer lifts the lid on Evelyn Waugh's 'incredible affairs'

14th August 2009

Evelyn Waugh was in love with three different male students during his time at Oxford, according to claims made in a new biography.

The celebrated author is the subject of a new work by Paula Byrne in which she scrutinises his time at university and beyond, suggesting that he had a series of liaisons during what he himself termed his 'acute homosexual phase'.

Speaking to The Evening Standard ahead of the release of her book, Mad World: Evelyn Waugh And The Secrets of Brideshead, Ms Byrne said it was generally accepted that Waugh had homosexual experiences in his youth, but added that it was much more serious than some critics had assumed.

'It's true that perhaps previous biographers have skirted round the issue - did he or didn't he? - but he absolutely, unquestionably did,' she told the newspaper.

Richard Pares, Hugh Lygon and Alistair Graham are all named as Waugh's lovers in the book, with the latter in particular said by the biographer to be the subject of 'an incredible, tense affair'.

Ms Byrne believes Graham and Lygon were the inspiration behind the character of Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited, with Lygon, like Flyte, carrying a teddy bear during his university days.

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