Most people . . . fix the prime of a man's life somewhere about thirty or thirty-five. Personally . . . I should place it at between fifteen and sixteen. It is then, it always seems to me, that his vitality is at its highest; he has greatest sense of the ludicrous and least sense of dignity. After that time, decay begins to set in. Possibly he attains to the "ungainly wisdom" of the Sixth Form and in that languorous atmosphere drinks deep of the opiate of specialization; possibly he attains to some abnormal form of muscular development and in his gyrations upon the football field loses his sense of the ludicrous; possibly he attains to an official position in the school and loses that still greater gift, his sense of humor.
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This quote is linked to the event - Turning 16
Source Notes: Debate at Lancing School, September 1920, The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, ed. Michael Davie (1976). Waugh was 16 at the time he advanced these arguments.
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh best known as Evelyn Waugh (October 28, 1903 April 10, 1966) was an English satirical novelist, brother of Alec Waugh and father of Auberon Waugh. He is generally regarded as one the the greatest figures in English literature in the 20th century.
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