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Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
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Brideshead Revisited (1945)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,543204448 (4.05)812
  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. 51
    The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Whig)
  5. 40
    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.
  6. 30
    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 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.
  9. 21
    The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (djmccord73)
    djmccord73: british families, class divisions, being an outsider, envy
  10. 21
    The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (Anonymous user)
  11. 00
    Touchstone by Laurie R. King (amanda4242)
    amanda4242: Bennett Grey is kind of a less damaged Sebastian Flyte.
  12. 22
    The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (chrisharpe)
  13. 00
    Missä kuljimme kerran : romaani eräästä kaupungista ja tahdostamme tulla ruohoa korkeammaksi by Kjell Westö (MGovers)
  14. 00
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Anonymous user)
  15. 23
    The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (chrisharpe)
  16. 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 (6)
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» See also 812 mentions

English (197)  Dutch (4)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (210)
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
look, its alright to be catholic and gay, but never rich. ( )
  adaorhell | Aug 24, 2018 |
Elegaic, moving and utterly beautiful: a poetic vision of decline, a paean to the English country house, and the story of one man's fall from innocence. Waugh's prose is measured and exquisite, with frequent sparks of wry humour. A self-indulgent joy to read. ( )
1 vote TheIdleWoman | Dec 8, 2017 |
(48) This is an author missing from my library given my Anglophile reading tastes. I finally read his most well-known work and indeed it was quite good. The story is framed by Captain Ryder whose battalion in WW2 is sent to practice maneuvers in the English countryside and just so happens to be billeted at Brideshead, the ancestral home of the Marchmain's. The Marchmain family is English Roman Catholic nobility and Ryder meets them when he is at college at Oxford and befriends the youngest son Sebastian. Ryder recalls his interactions with the family throughout the novel in the years between the two world wars and explains how he has come to be 'childless, friendless, lonely, and middle-age' and muses on the role the Catholic religion played in his current predicament.

The novel is well written though hard to get into in parts. It is very English - especially the beginning with Sebastian and Charles experiences at college. What a world it painted with the luncheons, the romantic friendships, the interactions with the dons. My favorite part was on the ship during the storm when Charles runs into Sebastian's sister Julia again. Very evocative. I feel as if Downton Abbey may have got some inspiration from this novel.

I did not really feel the religious pull that made the characters act in the way they did though.. It was not adequately explored in my opinion. Charles' reaction to Julia's feelings about her religion were rather inexplicable there at the end. I guess in the end what Waugh was saying was that believers and non-believers cannot truly be together and that the way you were raised will always win out in the end and will save you (or doom you, depending on your interpretation) Even Charles may in fact may at last be infected (vs. saved) by the light in the tabernacle there at the very end. Hard to say. Anyway, thought provoking BUT a bit of an unsatisfying ending that doesn't completely ring true.

Anyway, I would definitely read this author again and can agree for the most part with the novel's acclaim. I need to try and find the TV adaptation. ( )
2 vote jhowell | Nov 11, 2017 |
“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.”
― Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Three stars are the first half of the book which I adored - all about memories, regrets and relationships, in evocative language and magical settings - it was the second half which I had trouble with. when it began to focus more and more on religious themes and the novel lost its wonder for me. ( )
1 vote Elizabeth_Foster | Nov 3, 2017 |
One of the best, if not the best, book narrations I have heard. (Irons' narration of Lolita is equally excellent.) I found significantly more meaning and emotion in listening to this than in reading it. It is really quite an astonishing nostalgic trip to listen to Irons' narration. ( )
  davidcla | Sep 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (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 (35 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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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with the movie or the mini-series.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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)

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 19 descriptions

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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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