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Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
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Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead

by Paula Byrne
 

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A terrifically engaging and original biography of one of England’s greatest novelists, Evelyn Waugh, and the glamorous, eccentric, debauched, and ultimately tragic family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited. Fans of The Mitfords, D.J. Taylor’s Bright

Overview

A terrifically engaging and original biography of one of England’s greatest novelists, Evelyn Waugh, and the glamorous, eccentric, debauched, and ultimately tragic family that provided him with the most significant friendships of his life and inspired his masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited. Fans of The Mitfords, D.J. Taylor’s Bright Young People, and Alexander Waugh’s Fathers and Sons, as well as Anglophiles in general, will find much to savor in Paula Byrne’s wonderful Mad World.

Editorial Reviews

Tara McKelvey
…Byrne tells [Waugh's] story with affection—like a true friend—and charms the reader, too.
—The New York Times
Michael Dirda
In the altogether excellent and wickedly entertaining Mad World, Paula Byrne convincingly shows just how deeply the novelist drew on real people, places and events to produce his best known and most controversial novel, Brideshead Revisited…Over the years I've read all the major biographies of Evelyn Waugh, and Byrne's is perhaps the narrowest in focus, concentrating on just the first 40 years of the writer's life, but also the fastest moving and the most fun.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The identity of the aristocratic family that inspired Brideshead Revisited has long been known to Waugh biographers: Byrne's (Perdita: The Literary, Theatrical, Scandalous Life of Mary Robinson) considerable contribution to literary history details Waugh's close relationship with Earl and Countess Beauchamp; their son, Hugh Lygon (the prototype for Sebastian Flyte); and the psychological circumstances through which Waugh transformed his experiences into a novel that mirrored his lifelong quest for an ideal family and the spiritual haven of Roman Catholicism. Waugh, the product of an obscure public school, suffered at Oxford until he was accepted as a comrade by a group of brilliant, gay former Etonians whose college years were characterized by decadence, drinking, and debauchery. Hugh Lygon, while intellectually mediocre, belonged to the circle by dint of his charm and lineage. The tragic history of Madresfield, from Earl Beauchamp's exile from England to Hugh's early death, are thinly disguised in Brideshead. Byrne obtained access to previously unseen documents—including revelation of the royal family's possible role in the earl's exile—and includes enough gossipy asides to intrigue readers. With its brisk narrative pace, this book will be valuable to admirers of Waugh's oeuvre and those interested in the behavior of English upper-class society between the wars. 16 pages of color photos. (Mar. 9)
Library Journal

Exploratory Software Testing

Preface

“Customers buy features and tolerate bugs.”
—Scott Wadsworth

Anyone who has ever used a computer understands that software fails. From the very first program to the most recent modern application, software has never been perfect.

Nor is it ever likely to be. Not only is software development insanely complex and the humans who perform it characteristically error prone, the constant flux in hardware, operating systems, runtime environments, drivers, platforms, databases, and so forth converges to make the task of software development one of humankind’s most amazing accomplishments.

But amazing isn’t enough, as Chapter 1, “The Case for Software Quality,” points out, the world needs it to be high quality, too.

Clearly, quality is not an exclusive concern of software testers. Software needs to be built the right way, with reliability, security, performance, and so forth part of the design of the system rather than a late-cycle afterthought. However, testers are on the front lines when it comes to understanding the nature of software bugs. There is little hope of a broad-based solution to software quality without testers being at the forefront of the insights, techniques, and mitigations that will make such a possibility into a reality.

There are many ways to talk about software quality and many interested audiences. This book is written for software testers and is about a specific class of bugs that I believe are more important than any other: bugs that evade all means of detection and end up in a released product.

Any company that produces software ships bugs. Why did those bugs get written? Why weren’t they found in code reviews, unit testing, static analysis, or other developer-oriented activity? Why didn’t the test automation find them? What was it about those bugs that allowed them to avoid manual testing?

What is the best way to find bugs that ship?

It is this last question that this book addresses. In Chapter 2, “The Case for Manual Testing,” I make the point that because users find these bugs while using the software, testing must also use the software to find them. For automation, unit testing, and so forth, these bugs are simply inaccessible. Automate all you want, these bugs will defy you and resurface to plague your users.

The problem is that much of the modern practice of manual testing is aimless, ad hoc, and repetitive. Downright boring, some might add. This book seeks to add guidance, technique, and organization to the process of manual testing.

In Chapter 3, “Exploratory Testing in the Small,” guidance is given to testers for the small, tactical decisions they must make with nearly every test case. They must decide which input values to apply to a specific input field or which data to provide in a file that an application consumes. Many such small decisions must be made while testing, and without guidance such decisions often go unanalyzed and are suboptimal. Is the integer 4 better than the integer 400 when you have to enter a number into a text box? Do I apply a string of length 32 or 256? There are indeed reasons to select one over the other, depending on the context of the software that will process that input. Given that testers make hundreds of such small decisions every day, good guidance is crucial.

In Chapter 4, “Exploratory Testing in the Large,” guidance is given for broader, strategic concerns of test plan development and test design. These techniques are based on a concept of tours, generalized testing advice that guides testers through the paths of an application like a tour guide leads a tourist through the landmarks of a big city. Exploration does not have to be random or ad hoc, and this book documents what many Microsoft and Google testers now use on a daily basis. Tours such as the landmark tour and the intellectual’s tour are part of the standard vocabulary of our manual testers. Certainly, test techniques have been called “tours” before, but the treatment of the entire tourist metaphor for software testing and the large-scale application of the metaphor to test real shipping applications makes its first appearance in this book.

Testing in the large also means guidance to create entire test strategies. For example, how do we create a set of test cases that give good feature coverage? How do we decide whether to include multiple feature usage in a single test case? How do we create an entire suite of test cases that makes the software work as hard as possible and thus find as many important bugs as possible? These are overarching issues of test case design and test suite quality that have to be addressed.

In Chapter 5, “Hybrid Exploratory Testing Techniques,” the concept of tours is taken a step further by combining exploratory testing with traditional script or scenario-based testing. We discuss ways to modified end-to-end scenarios, test scripts, or user stories to inject variation and increase the bug-finding potential of traditionally static testing techniques.

In Chapter 6, “Exploratory Testing in Practice,” five guest writers from various product groups at Microsoft provide their experience reports from the touring techniques. These authors and their teams applied the tours to real software in real shipping situations and document how they used the tours, modified the tours, and even created their own. This is the first-hand account of real testers who ship important, mission-critical software.

Finally, I end the book with two chapters aimed at wrapping up the information from earlier chapters. In Chapter 7, “Touring and Testing’s Primary Pain Points,” I describe what I see as the hardest problems in testing and how purposeful exploratory testing fits into the broader solutions. In Chapter 8, “The Future of Software Testing,” I look further ahead and talk about how technologies such as virtualization, visualization, and even video games will change the face of testing over the next few years. The appendixes include my take on having a successful testing career and assemble some of my more popular past writings (with new annotations added), some of which are no longer available in any other form.

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Reviews
A perceptive study of how Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) emerged from middle-class beginnings to inhabit the tony corridors described in Brideshead Revisited (1945). By the time of his death, Waugh had been dismissed as a pretentious snob whose best days were long behind him. Byrne (Perdita: The Literary, Theatrical, Scandalous Life of Mary Robinson, 2005, etc.) seeks to redeem her subject, and she makes her job easier by focusing the narrative almost entirely on Waugh's best-known work. It makes for an incomplete biography, but Byrne more than compensates with a close reading of his defining experiences as a bisexual, a Catholic and especially as a young man eager to explore the upper class. At Oxford he fell into the orbit of a number of students born into wealth, and his time at college seemed more dedicated to heavy drinking and sexual experimentation than any formal learning. Among his peers was Hugh Lygon, the son of Lord Beauchamp, patriarch of Madresfield (aka "Mad"), the lavish estate that would serve as the model for Brideshead. The Lygons were abundantly wealthy but hardly trouble-free. Hugh eventually sank into a deep alcoholism, and Beauchamp was forced to leave England after his affairs with young men came to light. (Byrne is the first to see a divorce petition that describes his dalliances with young servants.) Regardless, Waugh struck up a close friendship with two of Hugh's sisters, Maimie and Coote, who supported him through his writing career and failed romances. The author was seduced and inspired by Mad's opulence, but Byrne doesn't paint him as an opportunistic hanger-on-his affection for Beauchamp and the Lygon sisters was deep and respectful. Quoted letters capture thedepth of their relationship, down to the private slang. Though Byrne's exploration of Waugh's Catholic faith is relatively slight, she smartly exposes how much it informed Brideshead and how much of the Lygons' internal turmoil thrummed within the novel. A sharp, entertaining literary biography that encompasses plenty despite its narrow focus. Agent: Andrew Wylie/The Wylie Agency
Chicago Tribune
“An utterly captivating and generous book with all the intimacy of a diary and the scholarly soundness of a fine biography…A singular accomplishment.”
Booklist
“Well-researched and absorbing.”
Heller McAlpin
“An engaging book…remarkably thorough…Deftly interweaving biographical details and textual analysis, Byrne makes the connections between Waugh’s art, Roman Catholic faith, and life dance.”
Michael Dirda
“Altogether excellent and wickedly entertaining…Scandalous detail enlivens every page of this delicious biography…Over the years I’ve read all the major biographies of Evelyn Waugh, and Byrne’s is…the fastest moving and the most fun.”
Alexander Waugh
“A splendid new book…While displaying the research values of a scholar Byrne also manages to write with the panache and timing of a popular novelist.”
Martin Rubin
“’Mad World’ is the perfect title for this sparkling book, a hybrid of family romance, incisive literary criticism, and deliciously hot gossip.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060881313
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/08/2011
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
611,989
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are Saying About This

Michael Dirda
“Altogether excellent and wickedly entertaining…Scandalous detail enlivens every page of this delicious biography…Over the years I’ve read all the major biographies of Evelyn Waugh, and Byrne’s is…the fastest moving and the most fun.”
Martin Rubin
“’Mad World’ is the perfect title for this sparkling book, a hybrid of family romance, incisive literary criticism, and deliciously hot gossip.”
Heller McAlpin
“An engaging book…remarkably thorough…Deftly interweaving biographical details and textual analysis, Byrne makes the connections between Waugh’s art, Roman Catholic faith, and life dance.”
Alexander Waugh
“A splendid new book…While displaying the research values of a scholar Byrne also manages to write with the panache and timing of a popular novelist.”

Meet the Author

Paula Byrne is the critically acclaimed author of five biographies, including Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice, The Real Jane Austen, and Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead. She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, the academic and biographer Jonathan Bate.

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