In the drab grey of postwar Europe, Britain’s favorite misanthrope Evelyn Waugh penned a novella named Scott-King’s Modern Europe. Scott-King is an Englishman, a classics professor, and an old boy grandee of Granchester public school. A lover of gentlemanly customs and old virtues, Scott-King finds himself becoming somewhat of an anachronism in a world of shallow politics and rumbustious ideologies. Ill-suited for the modern world of breathless progress and brutal efficiency, he maintains his status at the school as a curious holdover from a bygone age. While others will trim for the new age, he will stay expert in forgotten poets in dead languages.
As the story unfolds, however, Scott-King finds himself invited to a scholarly conference in the glorious nation of the future—the totalitarian state of Neutralia. Lauded as a land of promise, Neutralia purportedly offers all that is good in modernity. But once there, the scholar finds himself shuffled around by dishonest leaders who are aided by a fawning press. Manipulated into lending intellectual credibility to blatant propaganda and recognizing the visit for the farce that it is, the aged professor finds himself enduring the harrowing ordeal of safely getting home. What began as trip surrounding academic honor ended as a dystopian nightmare.
Upon returning to school, Scott-King is called in for a conversation with the headmaster.