Knowing Waugh, he was probably being a wee bit ironic. Yet he did write "a very beautiful book."
On March 13, 1944, Evelyn Waugh informed his friend Lady Dorothy Lygon: “I am writing a very beautiful book, to bring tears, about very rich people, beautiful, high born people who live in palaces and have no troubles except what they make themselves and those are mainly the demons of sex and drink which after all are easy to bear as troubles go nowadays”. This book would be published the following year as Brideshead Revisited, and would portray a family not unlike the Lygons of Madresfield Court in Worcestershire, who were indeed rich, (mostly) beautiful, high born and had more than their fair share of troubles with sex and drink, which they in fact found quite hard to bear. Paula Byrne’s object in writing Mad World was “to find the hidden key to Waugh’s great novel, to unlock for the first time the full extent to which Brideshead encodes and subtly transforms the author’s own experience”.