Columnist

(Evelyn Waugh/Carl Van Vechten, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, via Wikimedia Commons)

Who knew that Evelyn Waugh, author of “Brideshead Revisited,” was a great female author? That’s a real Scoop.

I guess there has been a Decline and Fall in the standards of Time magazine’s list-compiling, and now if people have female-sounding names, compilers don’t bother to check the Vile Bodies of the authors involved before proceeding. If you Loved One of Evelyn Waugh’s books, you too might be a little surprised that an author you remember as male has wound up on the list of 100 Most-Read Female Writers, but — look, what does it matter? Eventually we will all be nothing but a Handful of Dust.

Ahem.

Evelyn Waugh, male? Next you’ll tell me that George Sand is a woman, or Lionel Shriver, or the Bell brothers — Currer, Ellis and Acton.

Frankly, I think it’s more distressing that Kate Turabian, the author of a manual for formatting your thesis, is the most-read female author on campus, according to this list. Her manual may be assigned, but it is read only intermittently, generally at 3 in the morning the day your thesis is due, when you discover that you should have reversed the order of your citations and you run through the campus library rending your garments and weeping aloud. This is like calling the author of the iTunes Agreement the most-read writer of all time.

(Note: Time magazine has corrected the original post.)