July 2013 | Nate Pedersen

Waugh's Grandson Will Publish Lost Love Letters

Love letters to one of the original Bright Young Things will be published in a forthcoming 42-volume edition of the complete writings of Evelyn Waugh.  Waugh's grandson, Alexander, a self-described "obsessive researcher" unearthed many love letters thought to have been destroyed by Teresa "Baby" Jungman, a socialite of 1920s London, and the great unrequited love of Evelyn's life. Alexander interviewed Jungman shortly before her death at the age of 102 in 2010.

"She appears in the Evelyn Waugh biographies, but not nearly as importantly as she should do because she refused to be interviewed," Alexander told The Guardian. "I interviewed her. It was the first time she'd ever talked about Evelyn Waugh."

In the course of their discussion, Jungman casually mentioned a basket of love letters from Evelyn sitting in her bedroom.  She freely offered the lot of letters - primarily written in the 1930s -  to Alexander.

"They're extraordinary," Alexander told The Observer. "They show a tender side of Evelyn Waugh that's never been seen before. He was wildly in love with her."

That love was unrequited. Jungman, who was the likely inspiration for Lady Julia Flyte in Brideshead Revisted, rejected Evelyn's marriage proposal in 1932.  Evelyn was so depressed he fled to Morocco, where he cranked out one of his classic works, A Handful of Dust.

Teresa Jungman, and her sister Zita, were both prominent members of the Bright Young People floating around 1920s England, notorious for their parties, pranks, and elaborate treasure hunts that took participants all over London. The sisters were famously photographed by Cecil Beaton.  Jungman attracted a variety of suitors drawn from the ranks of the British aristocracy but refused all advances until a Scottish military officer swept her off her feet in 1940.

The first volume of the forthcoming complete writings of Evelyn Waugh will be published in 2016 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the author's death.