1886-01-17

On this date the British novelist RONALD FIRBANK was born in London. Firbank was a prototype for Evelyn Waugh. His best novels are Caprice (1917) and Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli (1926). Firbank was not without his own eccentricities. He as known to wear two dressing gowns at once, painted his nails, lived in an apartment painted black, and owned only books bound in blue leather. He dined only on champagne and flower petals and died malnourished. His work was championed by a large number of English novelists including E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh, Simon Raven and the poet W. H. Auden. Susan Sontag named his novels as constituting part of “the canon of camp” in her 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp.”