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Scoop (novel)

From Academic Kids

Scoop is a 1938 novel by English writer Evelyn Waugh about the rush of war reporters to a thinly disguised Abyssinia (now Ethiopia). In this satire of sensational journalism, a young man, the author of a regular column on placid country life for a London newspaper aptly named The Daily Beast, is sent by mistake to the fictitious African country of Ishmaelia where a civil war threatens to break out. There, despite bad preparation he accidentally manages to get the 'Scoop' of the title.

The novel is partly based on Waugh's own experience working for the Daily Mail, when he was sent to cover Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia. When he got his own scoop on the invasion he telegraphed the story back in Latin for secrecy, but they discarded it. Lord Copper, the newspaper magnate, is based on Lord Rothermere. No character is prepared to say 'No' to Lord Copper, so they say 'Definitely, Lord Copper' for yes, and 'Up to a point, Lord Copper' for no. Waugh based his hapless protagonist, William Boot,on Bill Deedes, a junior reporter who arrived in Addis Ababa aged 22 with two tons of luggage, ripe for the parodying.

The novel is full of contrasted (yet seemingly identical) opposites: Lord Copper of the Daily Beast, Lord Zinc of the Daily Brute; the CumReds and the White Shirts, parodies of Communists and the Black Shirts etc.

His countryside column 'Lush Places' is quoted as having the line Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole in it, which has become a very famous quotation of overblown prose style.

Scoop was made into a 1987 British TV movie starring Michael Maloney and Denholm Elliott.

External Links

Guardian analysis (http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/classics/story/0,6000,1070451,00.html)

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