Although Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honor trilogy is one of my very favorite pieces of literature, it is only now that I discover that the third volume, labelled The End of the Battle in the States, was originally published in G.B. under the title Unconditional Surrender.  (Curiously, Little Brown does not change the title in the list of books by Waugh inside.  That’s how I noticed the discrepancy.  On the other hand, the copyright information doesn’t say anything about its original title, as is usually the case.)

I must say that I prefer the original.  The End of the Battle has always struck me as rayther ambiguous – does the battle end in victory? Defeat? A draw?  Unconditional Surrender better fits the total disillusionment of Guy Crouchback and the destruction of the Old Order in the face of the onslaught of “the Modern Age in arms.”

I can only suppose that the publisher thought changing the title a good idea to bring it more in line with American sensibilities about Progress and the Future.

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