(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated novel is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by ...
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed) Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated novel is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, "Brideshead Revisited" transcends Waugh's familiar satiric exploration of his cast of lords and ladies, Catholics and eccentrics, artists and misfits, revealing him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity. The edition reprinted here contains Waugh's revisions, made in 1959, and his preface to the revised edition.
Absorbing plot and so evocative of its age. Much better than the overblown screen versions. Though these are beautifully acted, directed and shot they lose the humorous elements that form a part of the novel. Waugh is a master of brevity in style and this is lost in the adaptations.
Oct 23, 2008
This is well-known to be an excellent novel - nothing I can say will add to its fame.
Sep 25, 2008
Brideshead Worth Revisiting
After many years, I enjoyed rereading Waugh's classic novel. With the added hindsight of having viewed the Masterpiece Theatre production, I appreciated Waugh's stinging indictment of, and appreciation for, this view of early 20th Century Britain. Clearly, while the video captured every nuance of the disfunctional Flyte family and Charles Ryder's fascination with them, rereading the book allows for a thorough saturation in the language and a renewed appreciation of the narrative structure. I also learned something that I forget from time to time: if it looks too good to be true, it is: the book I purchased was a first edition;first printing of a reprint series -- not the original as I had thought. Live and learn.
Nov 20, 2007
One of the Finest english Novels
A great novel that captures so many currents of English life during the early 20th century. The charachters are so believable, that when the PBS series aired, many viewers exlaimed: "That not what Sebastian looks like!" The depiction of privleged English life at Oxbridge, the statley houses, the parties and denial of the upper-crust world coming into war is sort of a camoflage over the underlying theme of the book, the importance of faith and the state of one's soul. That, as glorious or squalid as life can be, it does not last and each person ought consider his soul in light of eternity. There is a marvelous atmosphere and feeling to the book, a sense of regretfulness that "This was once what was so great about English life...but will never be again". Waugh is essentially writing as a exile in place - As a Catholic, he was a disciple of a religion that England has never been comfortable with, to say the least. Considered a literary masterpiece, it is undoubtably Waugh's best book, and certainly his most insightful. Quite funny at times, it encommpasses so much of life in it's economical length. A truly great book that you will read several times.
Oct 25, 2007
Destined to be a classic.
I've read it more than a half-dozen times. It is filled with incredible insight into the human condtion and is more enjoyable each reading.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-03-05 In this classic tale of British life between the World Wars, Waugh parts company with the satire of his earlier works to examine affairs of the heart. Charles Ryder finds himself stationed at Brideshead, the family seat of Lord and Lady Marchmain. Exhausted by the war, he takes refuge in recalling his time spent with the heirs to the estate before the war?years spent enthralled by the beautiful but dissolute Sebastian and later in a more conventional relationship with Sebastian's sister Julia. Ryder portrays a family divided by an uncertain investment in Roman Catholicism and by their confusion over where the elite fit in the modern world. Although Waugh was considered by many to be more successful as a comic than as a wistful commentator on human relationships and faith, this novel was made famous by a 1981 BBC TV dramatization. Irons's portrayal of Ryder catapulted Irons to stardom, and in this superb reading his subtle, complete characterizations highlight Waugh's ear for the aristocratic mores of the time. Fervent Anglophiles will be thrilled by this excellent rendition of a favorite; Irons's reading saves this dinosaur from being suffocated by its own weight. (Dec. 2000) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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