Acclaimed novelist Evelyn Waugh had at least three gay affairs while studying at Oxford University, according to a new biography.
The author of Brideshead Revisited and Scoop was married twice, and fathered seven children.
“He had what he called an ‘acute homosexual phase’ when he was at Oxford, like most Oxford men in the twenties. It was not particularly unusual, particularly because women were not permitted to go to Oxford,” biographer Paula Byrne told the Daily Mail.
Byrne said that he ‘grew out’ of his homosexuality when he left university, but according to her book, Mad World: Evelyn Waugh And The Secrets of Brideshead, Waugh drew inspiration from two of his male companions for Lord Sebastian Flyte, his most famous literary creation.
“It was very much perceived as acceptable as long as it was a phase you grew out of when you left Oxford. He used to joke to friends who hadn’t had a gay phase that they had missed out on something. He said it was like fermenting wine, in order to prepare you for later on – for being married,” Byrne said.
Byrne claims that the author had gay affairs with Richard Pares, Alistair Graham and Hugh Lygon between 1921 and 1924. She bases her claims on Waugh’s letters and remaining diary entries.