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Brideshead Revisited (1945)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,026233471 (4.04)886
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
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (readerbabe1984)
  2. 120
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booksloth)
  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. 31
    The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (djmccord73)
    djmccord73: british families, class divisions, being an outsider, envy
  8. 20
    Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne (librarianistbooks, pellethepoet)
  9. 21
    The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (Anonymous user)
  10. 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.
  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 (13)
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» See also 886 mentions

English (221)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (3)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
I'm glad I read the Mad World book first, as I feel it gave me information that helped me make some sense of the story. To some extent, I think it's a "you had to be there" kind of book and I would have just skimmed along the surface without the background provided by Mad World. On the other hand, though, I'm not sure I agree with all of Mad World's conclusions about Brideshead. So I generally enjoyed it, didn't love it, and was ready for it to finish before it did. ( )
  emrsalgado | Jul 23, 2021 |
The 11-episode 1981 British TV series is faithful to the book. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
I don't yet know whether I detest the characters' wealthy, upper-class 'privilege' or whether I sympathize with their all-too-human foibles and troubles. What I DO know is that the novel is nearly flawlessly constructed. The narration carries one along deftly and gently, despite its serious themes. Highly recommend. ( )
  heggiep | Jul 5, 2021 |
I really enjoyed this book, but I do wonder that had I “read” it as opposed to listened to it, as I did, if I would have enjoyed it as much. The audio version I listened was narrated by Jeremy Irons and his voice made the first person narrator so very personal. Therefore be advised that this review is about the audio version of this book, as much as it is about the book itself.

I should start by saying that Evelyn Waugh is a MALE author. I was ten minutes into the book when I wondered about it, so I googled it and sure enough, Evelyn’s first name was Arthur. I think I was expecting a female contemporary of Daphne du Maurier but Brideshead isn’t Manderley, and definitely Brideshead Revisited is not [b:Rebecca|17899948|Rebecca|Daphne du Maurier|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1386605169s/17899948.jpg|46663].

For quite a while, the whole first part of the book to be precise, I thought it was about male homosexuality, which it was by a large degree, but not overall. Then, on the second part, I thought it was about finding redemption through love – heterosexual or not. Of course, all along I thought it was also about social class, and the rapid decline of such high class during the period between the two world wars. It is certainly a great social commentary of the period and of the people on the “upstairs” part of the house/society.

I ended it by thinking that I was lead through a religious book and that I never realized it until the final pages/narration. The Wikipedia page where I learned about Arthur Evelyn also mentioned his conversion to Catholicism in his late 20’s.

I am afraid to call this book a religious book, or catholic book, and drive other readers from it. The religiosity in it is not heavy handed, and it is never evangelizing. But I think it is at the heart of this story, a search for the divine which would raise our lives above the ordinary. It is almost incongruent in a book that portraits homosexuality and adultery in such a detached way – it was first published in 1944, let’s not forget it – that I finished it by thinking of sin and forgiveness.

Somewhere I read that this book was about loss, of course now I can’t remember where I read this and I can’t give proper credits. But the reviewer alluded to the loss of a generation on WWI, the loss of love (Sebastian and Julia), the loss of a way of living for those in such a privileged class, even the loss of the Brideshead manor.

It is not a simple book, too many layers and not enough conclusions. Like life itself, I would say.

PS: Here is the review by Lydia Kiesling that I so poorly paraphrased. ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
I must have read the book four or five times. I always think it starts brilliantly then Peter’s out as the religion takes hold. Sebastian’s fall from charm charming to religious alcoholic seems triggered by nothing doesn’t ring true. Nevertheless I love it. ( )
  mumoftheanimals | Feb 27, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 221 (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 (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evelyn Waughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Andel, E. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belmont, GeorgesTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bentley,PeterCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doleżal-Nowicka, IrenaTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fein, FranzÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch i Camarasa, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gielgud, JohnReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Havers, NigelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jalvingh, LucTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kermode, FrankIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linklater, EricForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malthe-Bruun, VibekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odelberg, MargarethaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phipps, CarolineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rajandi, HennoTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raphael, FredericIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Treimann, HansTÕlkija.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viljanen, LauriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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Important events
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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.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
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Canonical LCC
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.

No library descriptions found.

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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Hachette Book Group

2 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0316926345, 0316042994

Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182482, 0141187476, 0141045620, 0241951615, 0141193484

 

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