Decline and Fall

Written by:
Evelyn Waugh
Narrated by:
Stefan Rudnicki

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2024
6 hours 42 minutes
“What an immature, self-destructive, antiquated mischief is man! How obscure and gross his prancing and chattering on his little stage of evolution! How loathsome and beyond words boring all the thoughts and self-approval of his biological by-product! this half-formed, ill-conditioned body! this erratic, maladjusted mechanism of his soul: on one side the harmonious instincts and balanced responses of the animal, on the other the inflexible purpose of the engine, and between them man, equally alien from the being of Nature and the doing of the machine, the vile becoming!”

Evelyn Waugh’s first novel, Decline and Fall, is the daring and hilarious tale of Paul Pennyfeather, a theology student expelled from Oxford and sent to teach at a private boys’ school in Wales. Previously a modest young man, Paul finds himself a bit out of place amongst the teachers of Llanabba, who are all misfits, fools, and derelicts themselves: Prendy (the anxious) and Captain Grimes (the drunk), just to name two. There are not only failed men and rowdy boys in this Welsh town to occupy his time, however; Margot Beste-Chetwynde, the mother of one of his students, quickly becomes the object of Paul’s affections. But Margot may not be all she appears to, and Paul’s world is turned upside down all over again.

With a title inspired both by Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West, Waugh’s Decline and Fall is a brilliant farce and a biting satire of English morals and school life of the 1920s and, by extension, of the experience of generations of so many students and educators since.
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