A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh

By Evelyn Waugh

After seven years of marriage, the attractive girl Brenda final has grown tired of lifestyles at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that's the satisfaction and pleasure of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. In a unique that mixes tragedy, comedy, and savage irony, Evelyn Waugh indelibly captures the irresponsible temper of the "crazy and sterile generation" among the wars.

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Savigny, as Oroonoko, illustration. Hulton-Deutsch Collection/ CORBIS. Reproduced by permission. —Pamela writing in dressing room, engraving by Louis Truchy. Historical Picture Archive/CORBIS. Reproduced by permission. Title page from An Apology for the Life of Mrs. Shamela Andrews, by Henry Fielding. Special Collections Library, The University of Michigan. Reproduced by permission. —Engraving of Michael and Gabriel having battle with Satan and his Angels, Messiah on his chariot descending from the clouds, from The Riverside Milton, edited by Roy Flannagan.

Hulton Getty/Archive Photos. Reproduced by permission. —The Begger's Opera, Act III, engraving by William Hogarth. Burstein Collection/ CORBIS. Reproduced by permission. —Prisoner sitting in cell at Newgate Prison. Corbis Corporation. Reproduced by permission. —Beowulf, Paet Pegarde, manuscript page, Middle English script. Photograph. —Beowulf shears the head off Grendel, illustration. Corbis-Bettmann. Reproduced by permission. —Pilgrim's steps leading up to Trinity Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, photograph.

In his lifetime, Julius Caesar would act as personal patron to Cleopatra. Later, Caesar's descendant Octavian (called Octavius Caesar in Shakespeare's play) won sole rule of Rome, and made Egypt an imperial rather than a senatorial province, thereby placing it and its wealth under his direct control rather than that of the Senate. Its fertile fields watered by the yearly flood of the Nile, ancient Egypt was an immensely wealthy land, of high value to the Roman world: for centuries, Egypt would supply much of the Roman Empire's wheat.

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