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Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (1945)

Perhaps the most telling sign of Carpentier’s unique status as a professional boxer welcomed into the “smart set” in post-World War I England is the mention of his name in Evelyn Waugh’s much-admired novel Brideshead Revisited (1945). A character named Rex Motram, an indefatigable social climber and name-dropper, reports that he plays golf “regularly” with the Price of Wales and is “on easy terms with ‘Max’ and ‘F.E.’ and ‘Gertie’ Lawrence and Augustus John and Carpentier.” While the character doing the name dropping is clearly intended to be perceived as a buffoon, the fact that Carpentier’s name would be deemed worthy of dropping—along with those of a famous and well-regarded writer (“Max” is Max Beerbohm), the Lord Chancellor of England (“F.E.” is F. E. Smith, Earl of Birkenhead), a celebrated stage actress, and, of course, the Prince of Wales himself—is an unambiguous signifier of Carpentier’s cachet at the time.