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Brideshead Revisited (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Everyman's Library (Cloth)) Hardcover – June 24, 2008
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A departure from Evelyn Waugh's normally comic theater, Brideshead Revisited concerns the tale of Charles Ryder, a captain in the British Army in post-World War I England. Unlike Waugh's previous narrators, Ryder is an intelligent man, looking back on much of his life from his current post in Oxford. He strikes a special friendship with Lord Sebastian Flyte as the setting moves to the Brideshead estate and a baroque castle that recalls England's prior standing in the world. Ryder falls for Flyte's sister while families, politics and religions collide. What makes the book extraordinary is Waugh's sharp, vivid style and his use of dialect and minor characters. This is one of Waugh's finest accomplishments and a superb book. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top customer reviews
This book is vastly different from Waugh's satirical earlier works. There is still satire and humor in this text, but it is dryer and less central to the plot than in some of his previous novels. Also, unlike his previous efforts the characters in this novel are not caricature, but well developed human individuals. It is also rather episodic in plot and we follow the characters from their late teens to early thirties, a rather formative time in one's life.
I think that reading this novel will be a fuller experience if the reader has a religious background, and some personal experience with faith. But it is not necessary to enjoying (and getting something) from the text.
The novel deals with a close circle of friends, and depicts how they all in their own ways come to God. I feel that Mr. Waugh was trying to write a great novel of faith (my personal opinion) and to that extent I think he left religion, and the Catholic Church in particular, open to some criticism, which I don't think was his intent. However, one could read the same sections that I think expose the weakness of the church, and see them as plot details that strengthen the argument for faith. Waugh was much smarter than I, and I am going to assume that was his goal. What makes the text so layered is that one can read the novel and see a great testament to God and Church, and others can read it and just as easily argue for the destructive power of religion on individuals. To me, that is one of the greatest assets of "Brideshead Revisited".
This novel got under my skin, in a good way, and has been knocking around in my head since I finished. To me, that is high praise. I will be revisiting this text again. Probably again, and again...
Read it with a group of friends, there will be lots to digest, and the vastness of reactions this novel will be sure to engender will make the process all the more enjoyable and richer.
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