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Brideshead Revisited (1945)

by Evelyn Waugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
11,554245484 (4.04)904
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. 130
    Howards End by E. M. Forster (readerbabe1984)
  2. 120
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booksloth)
  3. 92
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (readerbabe1984)
  4. 61
    The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Whig)
  5. 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.
  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. 22
    The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (chrisharpe)
  13. 23
    The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (chrisharpe)
  14. 02
    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 (8)
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» See also 904 mentions

English (232)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Swedish (3)  Catalan (2)  French (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
I love everything about this book except the definite statements about love and religion; those I do not understand.

I listened to the Jeremy Irons narration. Not only is it excellent, but the scenes from the highly faithful TV adaptation of the '80s, with Irons as Ryder, recur in my imagination and reinforce the narration. ( )
  themulhern | Sep 17, 2022 |
Different jacket. No ISBN, copyrights :1944
  SusanGreen9999 | Aug 28, 2022 |
Overall:

This book reminds me of what I love best about reading. The sense of tragedy/melancholy I felt as I moved through the last 40 or so pages felt as real to me as actual times in my life when I've felt depressed or sad. I think the capacity of books to elicit such true and 'to the bone' emotion is what, for me, differentiates them from most other forms of media.

Things I liked:

Characters: were distinct, believable and used effectively to move the story along.

Words: were well chosen, skillfully employed and prosaic. I particularly remember a section about pigeons in St Marks Square Venice where I stopped and thought even though he's using all these fancy words and long sentences; he's actually expressing the idea better than any shorter sentences and less fancy words could. I think that is an ideal way for an author to express themselves (despite my own lack of ability ;-)

Story: Although the book is short compared to some of the weighty fantasy/sci-fi fiction I normally read, it doesn't feel rushed. There's a poetry to the interplay of the different elements of the story that I didn't predict and greatly enjoyed.

Things I thought could be improved:

Sometimes the story jumps between scenes quite dramatically (one incident I remember the narrator is remembering a dinner they attended years ago and in the next paragraph is involved in a similar dinner party at the present day). I found that a bit hard to follow at times and found myself 'checking back' to make sure I hadn't missed something on several occasions.


I thought the very end (last couple of sentences where Charles is said to be happy again) to be a rather abrupt turn around for his character. Maybe it was meant to be satire or something I'm not sure, but I think I would vote for another page and a half of text to help me understand why Charles is now a happy camper (or maybe he isn't and I just missed the whole point of the book, but in either case I'd appreciate a helping hand ;-)
( )
  benkaboo | Aug 18, 2022 |
Was pretty ok. Rather sad and melancholy. But, well written, to be sure. ( )
  bugenhageniii | Aug 6, 2022 |
I enjoyed the first half of the book very much. Sweet, intelligent, mischievous English schoolboys in love, it's hard to go wrong with that. The bits about religion were quite tiresome. ( )
  AlainaZ | Jun 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (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 (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Waugh, Evelynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andel, E. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Belmont, GeorgesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doleżal-Nowicka, IrenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fein, FranzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch i Camarasa, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gielgud, JohnNarratorsecondary 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, HennoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raphael, FredericIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Treimann, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Viljanen, LauriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Original title
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People/Characters
Important places
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
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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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Penguin Australia

5 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141182482, 0141187476, 0141045620, 0241951615, 0141193484

Hachette Book Group

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

Editions: 0316926345, 0316042994

 

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