Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh (/ˈɑːrθər ˈiːvlɪn ˈsɪndʒən wɔː/; 28 October 1903 – 10 April 1966) was an English writer of novels, biographies and travel books. He was also a prolific journalist and reviewer of books. His most famous works include the early satires Decline and Fall (1928) and A Handful of Dust (1934), the novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) and the Second World War trilogy Sword of Honour (1952–61). Waugh is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of the English language in the 20th century.
The son of a publisher, Waugh was educated at Lancing College and then at Hertford College, Oxford, and briefly worked as a schoolmaster before he became a full-time writer. As a young man, he acquired many fashionable and aristocratic friends, and developed a taste for country house society. In the 1930s, he travelled extensively, often as a special newspaper correspondent in which capacity he reported from Abyssinia at the time of the 1935 Italian invasion. He served in the British armed forces throughout the Second World War (1939–1945), first in the Royal Marines and then in the Royal Horse Guards. He was a perceptive writer who used the experiences and the wide range of people he encountered in his works of fiction, generally to humorous effect. Waugh's detachment was such that he fictionalised his own mental breakdown, which occurred in the early 1950s.