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Put Out More Flags, the sixth novel by Evelyn Waugh, was first published by Chapman and Hall in 1942.

Put Out More Flags
First edition
AuthorEvelyn Waugh
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherChapman and Hall
Publication date
Preceded byScoop 
Followed byBrideshead Revisited 

The title of the novel comes from the saying of an anonymous Chinese sage, quoted and translated by Lin Yutang in The Importance of Living (1937). The book is dedicated to Randolph Churchill, who found a service commission for Waugh during the Second World War.



The novel is set during the first year of the war and follows the wartime activities of characters introduced in Waugh's earlier satirical novels Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies and Black Mischief.

The dormant conflict of the Phoney War is reflected in the activity of the novel's main characters. Earnest would-be soldier Alistair Trumpington finds himself engaged in incomprehensible manoeuvres instead of real combat, while Waugh's recurring ne'er-do-well Basil Seal, first encountered as the Emperor Seth's advisor in Black Mischief, finds ample opportunity for amusing himself in the name of the war effort.

Critical receptionEdit

Jonathan Raban described the novel as being "as tightly constructed — point and counterpoint — as a baroque fugue",[1] while L. E. Sissman argues that Put Out More Flags represents a turning point in Waugh's writing career: "Waugh somehow fuses the savage, deadly comedy of his earlier books with the ominous seriousness of his later ones".[2]


  1. ^ Raban, Jonathan (1 July 2008). "Hitler's Coming; Time For Cocktails And Gossip". NPR. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ L. E. Sissman (March 1972). "Evelyn Waugh: The Height of His Powers". The Atlantic. Retrieved 15 December 2014.

External linksEdit