Brideshead Revisited

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A novel by E. Waugh, published 1945.

Narrated by Charles Ryder, it describes his emotional involvement with an ancient aristocratic Roman Catholic family, which grows from his meeting as an undergraduate at Oxford the handsome, whimsical younger son, Sebastian Flyte, already an incipient alcoholic. Charles meets his mother, the devout Lady Marchmain, who refuses to divorce Lord Marchmain, exiled to Venice with his mistress; the heir, Lord Brideshead; and the sisters Julia and Cordelia. Lady Marchmain attempts to enlist Charles's support in preventing Sebastian's drinking, but Sebastian finally escapes to North Africa, where, after his mother's death, he becomes some kind of saintly down‐and‐out. Meanwhile Charles, now an unhappily married but successful artist, falls in love with Julia, also unhappily married; they both plan to divorce, but the power of the Church reclaims Julia, and they part forever. The narrative is set in a wartime framework of prologue and epilogue, in which Charles is billeted in Brideshead, the great country house which had once dominated his imagination.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).

Reference entries

Evelyn Waugh (1903—1966) writer

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