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crouchback-what's in the name?

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  • jeffreymanley123
    The following query was posted on the Anthony Powell blog. No one there seems to have come up with the answer. Do we know? If I had to guess it would be
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 4, 2009
      The following query was posted on the Anthony Powell blog. No one there seems to have come up with the answer. Do we know? If I had to guess it would be something like crouching (genuflecting?) back to God which is what Guy does over the course of the novel. But that's only a guess even though I think I've read a theory by some one more knowledgeable than me but can't recall where. If some one on the Powell blog cracks it, I'll post the answer here as well. jeff

      "Does anybody have any idea why Waugh chose Guy Crouchback as the name for the protagonist of the Sword of Honour trilogy? Tony and Brenda Last, John Beaver, Sebastian Flyte . . . all seem aptly named. But Guy Crouchback? For some reason, I can't help associating "Crouchback" with "hunchback" and "crookback"--and those terms with the hunchback of Notre Dame and Richard III. Somehow I find it difficult to believe that is what Waugh had in mind."
    • Antony F. P. Vickery
      I think it likely that one reason Waugh chose the name Crouchback is for the flavor it conveys of an old, distinguished, English family. Someone with an
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 4, 2009
        I think it likely that one reason Waugh chose the name Crouchback is
        for the flavor it conveys of an old, distinguished, English family.
        Someone with an English education might vaguely remember from their
        history lessons a character called Edmund Crouchback
        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Crouchback,_1st_Earl_of_Lancaster
        ), but readers from other countries are unlikely to have this
        association. Naming a character Plantagenet might be a little over
        the top, but some names (e.g., Longshanks, Scrope, Montfort, Percy,
        Cecil, Percival) have, at least to my English-educated ear, the same
        magic as Crouchback.

        I once read an exegesis by an American academic of the wonderful A.E.
        Houseman poem that begins, "The night is freezing fast." The opening
        words of the second stanza are "Fall, winter, fall," which an English
        reader understands as a clear use of metonymy to express the
        imperative, "Fall, snow, fall." The American academic, however,
        devoted some effort to explaining exactly what Houseman was trying to
        convey by alternating the names of two of the seasons (i.e., "autumn,
        winter, autumn"). It's the same with the name Crouchback; either you
        feel its ancient Englishness or you don't, and instead it makes you
        think of "hunchback."

        Antony F. P. Vickery
        Lansdale, PA
        USA

        On 3/4/2009 09:49, jeffreymanley123 wrote:

        >The following query was posted on the Anthony Powell blog. No one
        >there seems to have come up with the answer. Do we know? If I had to
        >guess it would be something like crouching (genuflecting?) back to
        >God which is what Guy does over the course of the novel. But that's
        >only a guess even though I think I've read a theory by some one more
        >knowledgeable than me but can't recall where. If some one on the
        >Powell blog cracks it, I'll post the answer here as well. jeff
        >
        >"Does anybody have any idea why Waugh chose Guy Crouchback as the
        >name for the protagonist of the Sword of Honour trilogy? Tony and
        >Brenda Last, John Beaver, Sebastian Flyte . . . all seem aptly
        >named. But Guy Crouchback? For some reason, I can't help associating
        >"Crouchback" with "hunchback" and "crookback"--and those terms with
        >the hunchback of Notre Dame and Richard III. Somehow I find it
        >difficult to believe that is what Waugh had in mind."
      • Jeffrey Manley
        In the novel the fictional Crouchbacks held their land at Broome which stretched undiminished and unencumbered from the Quantocks to the Blackdown Hills (a
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 7, 2009

           In the novel the fictional Crouchbacks held their land at Broome which "stretched undiminished and unencumbered from the Quantocks to the Blackdown Hills" (a territory encompassing Combe Florey where Waugh ended his days as well most of the rest of that end of Somerset)  dating back to Henry I.  Edmund Crouchback held what looks  like a similar chunk of land on the Welsh border and dates back to Henry III.  It seems obvious now that I read all this that the name must have come from this source. I wonder if there's any connection with Roger of Waybrook, the English knight buried at Santa Dulcina delle Rocce who failed to complete the Second Crusade and therefore would not have had a "crouchback."  My grasp of Medieval history is too tenuous to hazard even a guess.  jeff


          To: Evelyn_Waugh@yahoogroups.com
          From: afpv@...
          Date: Wed, 4 Mar 2009 12:11:22 -0500
          Subject: Re: [Evelyn_Waugh] crouchback-what's in the name?

          I think it likely that one reason Waugh chose the name Crouchback is
          for the flavor it conveys of an old, distinguished, English family.
          Someone with an English education might vaguely remember from their
          history lessons a character called Edmund Crouchback
          (
          .



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