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Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited (1945)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,651190351 (4.05)776
  1. 120
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    Howards End by E. M. Forster (readerbabe1984)
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    Atonement by Ian McEwan (readerbabe1984)
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    The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: Both set prior to the Second World War, with a narrator looking back on time spent with a memorable family in a memorable and evocative setting. Same sense of melancholy and nostalgia.
  5. 41
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  6. 20
    A Dance to the Music of Time: First Movement, Spring by Anthony Powell (literarysarah)
  7. 20
    Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne (librarianistbooks, pellethepoet)
  8. 21
    The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (Anonymous user)
  9. 21
    The Queer Feet [Short story] by G. K. Chesterton (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: Evelyn Waugh used this story by G.K. Chesterton as a basis for a number of ideas in his book.
  10. 21
    The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (djmccord73)
    djmccord73: british families, class divisions, being an outsider, envy
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    Missä kuljimme kerran : romaani eräästä kaupungista ja tahdostamme tulla ruohoa korkeammaksi by Kjell Westö (JustJoey4)
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  13. 23
    The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (chrisharpe)
  14. 03
    The Rules of Attraction by Bret Easton Ellis (Gregorio_Roth)
    Gregorio_Roth: Brideshead Revisited is to the 1940's as Rules of Attraction was to the 1980's.

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» See also 776 mentions

English (183)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (196)
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
I hadn't read this novel for 30 years but it's still beautiful, sentimental, lyrical, and nostalgic for a time usurped by Hooper, and all the change he brought to post-war Britain and english society.

Superbly written, with exceptional dialogue, and beautifully narrated by Charles Ryder. If you have seen Jeremy Irons play the role in the world-class ITV series of 1981 you'll hear his voice echo throughout these pages.

The critics never regarded this as Waugh's best novel, but I disagree. It's his most enduring novel and a classic you can't ignore. ( )
  chrispearson | Jul 9, 2016 |

1923: After an unpleasant chance first encounter, protagonist and narrator Charles Ryder, a student at Hertford College, Oxford University, and Lord Sebastian Flyte, the younger son of an aristocratic family and himself an undergraduate at Christ Church, become friends. Sebastian takes Charles to his family's palatial home, Brideshead, where Charles eventually meets the rest of Sebastian's family, including his sister Julia.

During the holiday Charles returns home, where he lives with his widower father. Scenes between Charles and his father Ned (Edward) provide some of the best-known comic scenes in the novel. He is called back to Brideshead after Sebastian incurs a minor injury. Sebastian and Charles spend the remainder of the summer together. They form something between a friendship and a romance. Waugh writes that Charles had been "in search of love in those days" when he first met Sebastian, finding "that low door in the wall... which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden", a metaphor that informs the work on a number of levels.

Sebastian's family is Catholic, which influences the Marchmains' lives as well as the content of their conversations, all of which surprises Charles, who had always assumed Christianity to be "without substance or merit." Lord Marchmain had converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism in order to marry his wife but soon escaped both his marriage and religion to Italy. Left alone, Lady Marchmain focused even more on her faith, which is also very much espoused by her eldest son, Bridey, and her youngest daughter, Cordelia. Sebastian, a troubled young man, seems to find greater solace in alcohol than in religion, and descends into alcoholism, drifting away from the family over a two-year period. He flees to Morocco, where the disease ruins his health. He eventually finds some solace as an under-porter/charity case at a Tunisian monastery.

Sebastian's drifting leads to Charles' own estrangement from the Marchmains. Yet Charles is fated to re-encounter the Marchmain family over the years. He marries and fathers two children but his wife is unfaithful and he eventually forms a relationship with Julia, who by that time is married but separated from the wealthy but uncouth Canadian entrepreneur, Rex Mottram.

Charles and Julia plan to divorce their respective spouses so that they can marry. On the eve of World War II, the aging Lord Marchmain returns to Brideshead to die in his ancestral home. As he names Julia (and not his eldest son Bridey) heiress to the estate, this would give Charles marital ownership of the house. Lord Marchmain's deathbed return to the faith in late July 1939 changes the situation: Julia decides that she cannot enter a sinful marriage with Charles, who is also moved by Lord Marchmain's reception of the sacraments.

The plot concludes in the early Spring of 1943 (or possibly 1944 – the date is disputed)[1]. Charles is "homeless, childless, middle-aged and loveless"[2]. He is now an army officer after establishing a career as an architectural artist, and finds himself unexpectedly billeted at Brideshead. Charles finds the house damaged by the military occupation but the private chapel, closed after Lady Marchmain's death in 1926, has been reopened for the soldiers' worship. It occurs to him that the chapel (and, by extension, the Church's) builders' efforts were not in vain, even when their purposes may appear, for a time, to be frustrated[3].
( )
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Wonderful! A poignant story of bygone days, this book is beautifully written and I loved every word. Evelyn Waugh brings the early 20th century to life through characters who are more than mere words on a page. He touches your heart and makes you aware that memories are life itself - "for we possess nothing certainly except the past". Brilliant novel and I will seek out more by this author. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
Charles Ryder is captivated by Sebastian Flyte. Invited to Brideshead, Sebastian's home, Charles welcomes the attentions of its inhabitants, becoming infatuated with them and the life of privilege they inhabit. But, as duty and desire, faith and happiness come into conflict, Charles comes to recognize his spiritual and social distance from them. Charles Ryder, a lonely student at Oxford, is captivated by the outrageous and decadent Sebastian Flyte. Invited to Brideshead, Sebastian's magnificent family home, Charles welcomes the attentions of its eccentric, artistic inhabitants the Marchmains, becoming infatuated with them and the life of privilege they inhabit - in particular, with Sebastian's remote sister, Julia. But, as duty and desire, faith and happiness come into conflict, and the Marchmains struggle to find their place in a changing world, Charles eventually comes to recognize his spiritual and social distance from them.
  HitherGreen | Jan 22, 2016 |
A favorite book read wonderfully by Jeremy Irons. I love the book and love the reading. Loved the PBS series. So they all come together for me, and I listen to this book from time to time.

From a person perspective I find the meditation on religion always though provoking--the force it can play in the cycle of a human life, in a family, and in history ( )
  idiotgirl | Dec 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 183 (next | show all)
"Lush and evocative ... the one Waugh which best expresses at once the profundity of change and the indomitable endurance of the human spirit."
added by GYKM | editThe Times
But those who disagree with him on religious or political grounds, or both, will have a time for themselves in trying to prove that his beliefs have marred his literary artistry. "Brideshead Revisited” is Mr. Waugh's finest achievement.

» Add other authors (36 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waugh, Evelynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andel, E. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentley,PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jalvingh, LucTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
Related movies
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I am not I; thou art not he or she; they are not they.
To Laura
First words
When I reached C Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full view below me through the grey mist of early morning.
"I have been here before," I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were creamy with meadowsweet and the air heavy with all the scents of summer; it was a day of peculiar splendour, and though I had been there so often, in so many moods, it was to that first visit that my heart returned on this, my latest.
 "these men must die to make a world for Hooper ... so that things might be safe for the travelling salesman, with his polygonal pince-nez, his fat, wet handshake, his grinning dentures." 
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the movie or the mini-series.
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Original language
Book description
Charles Ryder, a student at Hertford College, Oxford, is befriended by Lord Sebastian Flyte, the younger son of an aristocratic family, who introduces Charles to his eccentric and aesthetic friends, including the haughty and homosexual Anthony Blanche, and takes Charles to his family's palatial home, Brideshead.
Haiku summary
makes all my friends unhappy.
Me too. Sign me up!

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316926345, Paperback)

One of Waugh's most famous books, Brideshead Revisited tells the story of the difficult loves of insular Englishman Charles Ryder, and his peculiarly intense relationship with the wealthy but dysfunctional family that inhabited Brideshead. Taking place in the years before World War II, Brideshead Revisited shows us a part of upper-class English culture that has been disappearing steadily.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Captain Charles Ryder, stationed at Brideshead, recalls his boyhood associations with the odd but charming members of an English noble family. The story of Charles Ryder and his involvement with an aristocratic Roman Catholic English family, the Marchmains.… (more)

» see all 13 descriptions

Legacy Library: Evelyn Waugh

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8 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182482, 0141187476, 0141045620, 0241951615, 0141193484

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