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Brideshead Revisited (1945)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,425218470 (4.05)864
Brideshead Revisited tells the story of the Marckmain family, as narrated by friend Charles Ryder. Aristocratic, beautiful, and charming, the Marchmains are indeed a symbol of England and her decline; the novel a mirror of the upper-class of the 1920s and the abdication of responsibility in the 1930s.… (more)
  1. 120
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booksloth)
  2. 110
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (readerbabe1984)
  3. 82
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (readerbabe1984)
  4. 50
    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. 61
    The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Whig)
  6. 40
    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
  11. 00
    Touchstone by Laurie R. King (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Bennett Grey is kind of a less damaged Sebastian Flyte.
  12. 00
    Missä kuljimme kerran : romaani eräästä kaupungista ja tahdostamme tulla ruohoa korkeammaksi by Kjell Westö (Trifolia)
  13. 22
    The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (chrisharpe)
  14. 23
    The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (chrisharpe)
  15. 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.
1940s (10)
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» See also 864 mentions

English (207)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (219)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
My thoughts on this are quite complicated. I very much liked the writing and the style, but the story didn't grab me at all. I found myself utterly disinterested in Charles, the narrator, although Julia and Sebastian intrigued me a little more. In the end, I think it was like many other 'classic' novels are for me. I get great enjoyment out of the artistry, but that's all, really. And, of course, there's nothing wrong with that. It's still a bloody good book; it's just wasn't a page-turner as well. ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
"O God, make me good, but not yet."

This book has all of the fun stuff: alcoholism, overbearing family, an ambiguously gay duo, a large English estate, Catholics (lapsed and otherwise), a grown man and his teddy bear, extramarital affairs, religious strife, nostalgia, broken-off engagements, man-children, guilt. All of the things! Perhaps it's telling of my own background, but I am developing a taste for the mid-20th century Catholic converts in England. ( )
  jostie13 | May 14, 2020 |
I liked the book. I think I may have missed some clues on the relations between the characters, or some subtle hints on what was allowed (socially) or not, but I liked the story.
What I didn't understand (I'm looking with today's eyes!) is the lack of interest in one's children. Maybe I'll reread it when I come across it again. But.... there are so many books still waiting... ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 28, 2020 |
Too much waffle; too much rich people being their irrelevant selves. Even if Evelyn had found a decent editor, I still think I would have found this painful. And booooring.

Not for me. ( )
  GirlMeetsTractor | Mar 22, 2020 |
I seem to be making a habit of reading books that are much-loved by many people and not really liking them very much (the books, not the people). I was quite disappointed with this novel. The writing is, in places, lovely, but there was never a phrase or a paragraph that made me stop and read it again just for the sheer enjoyment of the words. I never connected with any of the characters - I'm not sure how anyone could, really, as theyre all so insipid and up their own backsides and one-dimensional. The plot - is there a plot? It just seems to ramble. Lots of reviews seem to talk of the big ideas that this is supposedly about, but there doesn't seem to be much agreement among those reviews on what those ideas actually are, and I have to say I didn't see much of any of them in the book. I read it on a recommendation from someone who has read it several times and watched the movie/tv series several times; in discussion with that someone afterwards, I was frustrated by the vagueness of his response to "what is it about it that you love?" and "why do you love it?" - and the clearest, most credible basis for his affection for it turned out to be that he had the hots for one of the actors in the tv series, which makes me wonder how much the dramatisations are responsible for the book's fanboys/girls. I've never seen a dramatisation of it; maybe I should, and maybe then I'd get it. ( )
  DebsDd | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Evelyn Waugh was a marvellous writer, but one of a sort peculiarly likely to write a bad book at any moment. The worst of his, worse even than The Loved One, must be Brideshead Revisited. But long before the Granada TV serial came along it was his most enduringly popular novel; the current Penguin reprint is the nineteenth in its line. The chief reason for this success is obviously and simply that here we have a whacking, heavily romantic book about nobs...

It is as if Evelyn Waugh came to believe that since about all he looked for in his companions was wealth, rank, Roman Catholicism (where possible) and beauty (where appropriate), those same attributes and no more would be sufficient for the central characters in a long novel, enough or getting on for enough, granted a bit of style thrown in, to establish them as both glamorous and morally significant. That last blurring produced a book I would rather expect a conscientious Catholic to find repulsive, but such matters are none of my concern. Certainly the author treats those characters with an almost cringing respect, implying throughout that they are important and interesting in some way over and above what we are shown of them.
added by SnootyBaronet | editTimes Literary Supplement, Kingsley Amis (Nov 20, 1981)
 
Brideshead Revisited fulfils the quest for certainty, though the image of a Catholic aristocracy, with its penumbra of a remote besieged chivalry, a secular hierarchy threatened by the dirty world but proudly falling back on a prepared eschatological position, has seemed over-romantic, even sentimental, to non-Catholic readers. It remains a soldier's dream, a consolation of drab days and a deprived palate, disturbingly sensuous, even slavering with gulosity, as though God were somehow made manifest in the haute cuisine. The Puritan that lurks in every English Catholic was responsible for the later redaction of the book, the pruning of the poetry of self-indulgence.
added by SnootyBaronet | editObserver, Anthony Burgess
 
Snobbery is the charge most often levelled against Brideshead; and, at first glance, it is also the least damaging. Modern critics have by now accused practically every pre-modern novelist of pacifism, or collaboration, in the class war. Such objections are often simply anachronistic, telling us more about present-day liberal anxieties than about anything else. But this line won’t quite work for Brideshead, which squarely identifies egalitarianism as its foe and proceeds to rubbish it accordingly...

‘I have been here before’: the opening refrain is from Rossetti, and much of the novel reads like a golden treasury of neo-classical clichés: phantoms, soft airs, enchanted gardens, winged hosts – the liturgical rhythms, the epic similes, the wooziness. Waugh’s conversion was a temporary one, and never again did he attempt the grand style. Certainly the prose sits oddly with the coldness and contempt at the heart of the novel, and contributes crucially to its central imbalance.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Times, Martin Amis
 
"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
 
The new novel by Evelyn Waugh—Brideshead Revisited—has been a bitter blow to this critic. I have admired and praised Mr. Waugh, and when I began reading Brideshead Revisited, I was excited at finding that he had broken away from the comic vein for which he is famous and expanded into a new dimension... But this enthusiasm is to be cruelly disappointed. What happens when Evelyn Waugh abandons his comic convention—as fundamental to his previous work as that of any Restoration dramatist—turns out to be more or less disastrous...

For Waugh’s snobbery, hitherto held in check by his satirical point of view, has here emerged shameless and rampant... In the meantime, I predict that Brideshead Revisited will prove to be the most successful, the only extremely successful, book that Evelyn Waugh has written, and that it will soon be up in the best-seller list somewhere between The Black Rose and The Manatee.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe New Yorker, Edmund Wilson (Jan 5, 1946)
 

» Add other authors (34 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waugh, Evelynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andel, E. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belmont, GeorgesTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentley,PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jalvingh, LucTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Epigraph
I am not I; thou art not he or she; they are not they.
Dedication
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.
Quotations
"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." 
My theme is memory, that winged host that soared about me one grey morning of war-time. These memories, which are my life—for we possess nothing certainly except the past—were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark’s, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl. Thus it was that morning.
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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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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
Catholicism
makes all my friends unhappy.
Me too. Sign me up!
(PhileasHannay)

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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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