Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles RyderThe Most Nostalgic And Reflective Of Evelyn Waugh S Novels, Brideshead Revisited Looks Back To The Golden Age Before The Second World War It Tells The Story Of Charles Ryder S Infatuation With The Marchmains And The Rapidly Disappearing World Of Privilege They Inhabit Enchanted First By Sebastian At Oxford, Then By His Doomed Catholic Family, In Particular His Remote Sister, Julia, Charles Comes Finally To Recognize Only His Spiritual And Social Distance From Them. Please note contains spoilers One s head is rather spinning, there are so many terribly good things and likewise so very much abject wretchedness it s hard to begin Let us try.1 This book is the twisted story of a homosexual affair, which I was truly not expecting it to be It s famously set amongst the upper classes, firstly in Oxford, so you get pages of blissed out descriptions of life amongst British aristocratic students in the 1920s and how many plovers eggs they eat and which claret they guzzle That part is what I was expecting, and very lush and delectable and appalling it is too But what surprised me is that it all takes place within a thick pall of implied and overt homosexuality The two principals of the first half, Charles and Sebastian, are in love, clearly they do everything and go everywhere together And the best character in the whole book is a Quentin Crisp style flaming queer called Anthony Blanche who says things like Good evening Mulcaster, old sponge and toady, are you lurking amongst the hobbledehoys Have you co
Our narrator, a non Catholic officer based on the home front in World War II Britain, revisits a mansion he first visited as a young man and reflects back on his close relationship with a Catholic family A non Catholic himself, he reports to us about their habits and customs almost as if he were an anthropologist visiting a tribe in the tropical rainforest Not only are Catholics a minority in Britain, but the Anglican Church is the official state sponsored religion It s a great book and, of course, it s been made into a Masterpiece Theater series years ago There are many reviews of this work already, so just to illustrate the excellent writing, I will just say that I think the romantic episode on an ocean liner during a storm at sea her husband is absent his wife is lai
I just finished rereading Evelyn Waugh s Brideshead Revisited, a book I pick up every couple of years or so This time I read it because of the new movie version movie the one with Emma Thompson as the Lady Marchmain Flyte As a critic, I get to see a pre screening of the new movie on Tuesday I am taking Dr Steve Also, I am a huge fan of the original, very literal British miniseries from 1981 it is the first thing that brought Jeremy Irons to international attention, and it had the excessively handsome Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte I don t know exactly when the new movie is coming out.Speaking of coming out, it s impossible to speak of Brideshead Revisited without talking about the strong homosexual themes Then again, you also have to talk about the pressure of Catholicism and its attendant guilt Finally, there is the sense of social climbing, of coveting and envy, that defines the story s narrator, Charles Ryder.The story is about an upper middle class boy, Charles Ryder and his integration into a rich English family After years at boarding school
Brideshead Revisited is almost the opposite of Waugh s own Vile Bodies Bright Young Things in that it starts off as a tragedy, or at least pretty damn close to E M Forster s Maurice territory thus tres tragique and ends in such a jubilant comedic form sorry for this mega old spoiler It seems to me that Waugh is a master of Contrasts, it works all too well the book ends the reader is deeply disappointed that it does I practically ignored most of Seattle as I read a paperback version of this brilliant book.It begins and ends at completely different sides of the spectrum the Oxford years seem idyllic and maudlin, the protagonist has not yet been completely corrupted, though we do become witness to that voyage The second part completely has Charles being both antagonist and sick voyeur He does completely nothing to stop the decay around him which culminates, just as in Vile Bodies , in WW2 All the bourgeois goes under
2.5 5When I first started reading this book, I was puzzled, lost even in my effort to find what exactly the author was attempting As time and pages passed, I grew horribly angry with it all, and wondered if I would be able to finish and review the story without a note of fury running through it and wrecking what analysis I could present Now that I ve finished, I find myself saddened by the entire experience With that in mind, let me explain.This story had a great deal of potential in it, oblique mentions of heartrending stories of religious guilt and tortured shame and individual souls beating themselves bloody on the walls of an uncaring sociocultural framework, and it is largely this potential that kept me going through pages of insipidly flat characters running around, trampling on everyone without the slightest attempt to understand their desires or care about the ones of others To put it plainly, I loathed every single one of them, the narrator most of all, who made great friends with the one person whose storyline could have redeemed the entire book Instead of caring the slightest bit for said friend , he wasted countless pages on selfish pursuits of love and art and philosophical meanderings that were the most pitifully idiotic things I have seen in a long time Why is he alone Why does life pass him by What is beauty, history, and why has he been driven from Arcadia Because h
I finished this excellent book weeks ago but I have been stuck on how to review it I sometimes have problems writing about the books I really like, and I loved this novel I was familiar with the plot having seen the 2008 movie, but I didn t expect to love the book as much as I did or to get so completely immersed in the story.I even loved the names of the characters Charles Ryder Sebastian Flyte Julia Flyte Lady Marchmain I was caught up in each person I felt Charles yearning, I understood Sebastian s angst, I admired Julia s sass, and I pitied Lady Marchmain s self righteousness.There is so much brilliant writing in this novel Some of my favorite scenes were that first summer with Charles and Sebastian at Brideshead the comical dinner conversations with Charles father, who was being deliberately obtuse the bumblings of Rex Mottram the lectures from Charles cousin, Jasper and the lively conversations with Anthony Blanche I listened to this on audio, narrated by Jeremy Irons, and it was a superfantasticamazing performance If you like audio books, I highly recommend seeking out that version.One of my goals is to read modern classics, and the richness of this novel shows it is definitely worth the effort.Favor
Evocative and nostalgic tale, infused with religion and homo sexuality, and hence passion, betrayal and guilt The later part, about Charles and Celia and then Charles and Julia is subtle, realistic and sad than the light frivolity of Oxford days.Hollinghurst s The Stranger s Child has many echoes of this review here.It s five years since I last read this, but a few ideas that have come back to me by discussing it elsewhere SEGREGATIONPeople were strongly segregated by class and gender in those days Not only were the schools at least, the sort that Charles and Sebastian attended single sex, so were the colleges at university The fact that people of their background were invariably packed off to boarding school from the age of 7 or 8, not returning until the holidays, created segregation from their parents as well And of course there weren t many scholarship boys to broaden the social mix.HOMOSEXUALITYWhen I first read the book as a naive teenager, I thought the book was somewhat ambiguous about Charles and Sebastian s relationship As an adult, I have no doubt that it was sexual, but that although Sebastian is gay, Charles is towards the straight end of bisexual his attraction, nay obsession, is with the Marchmain family than any individual member of it Naked male friends sunbathing may seem very gay nowadays, but was less so for Charles and Sebastian in Oxford Nudism and health and efficiency were popular at the time, and
Debo decir que siento debilidad por la elegancia, la iron a, el sentido del humor y la mala leche que es frecuente encontrar en las obras de escritores ingleses en las que retratan a su aristocracia y la adaptaci n a la nueva realidad social que tuvieron forzosamente que emprender durante todo el siglo pasado Esta novela es una de ellas La famosa flema inglesa, el decoro por encima de todo, tragedias incluidas, es algo que me fascina y me repele a un tiempo L stima del gran pero que para m tiene el relato Alguien dijo una vez que la religi n es como el vino, hay a quien le sienta bien y a quien le sienta mal En esta novela asistimos al segundo caso al menos eso me pareci durante gran parte de la novela Sin embargo, el final lo cambia todo, tanto lo cambia que me parece un gran lastre para la novela El autor justifica todo lo acaecido a los personajes nada bueno, por cierto en aras de una religiosidad que pone por encima de todo hay que recordar la crisis religiosa del autor,
Just as Charles Ryder is seduced by the aristocratic Marchmain family in Brideshead Revisited, I was seduced by Evelyn Waugh s gorgeous prose, elegy to lost youth and dreams, and the glamorous between the wars setting The pacing is strange, but it s hinted at in the subtitle The Sacred Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder Memories are sporadic, apt to be uncomprehensive, subjective.Ryder, an officer homeless, childless, middle aged and loveless , is stationed at the magnificent Brideshead estate, and looks back on how his life has intertwined with many of its members first the fey, teddy bear clutching Sebastian, at Oxford, and then, later, with Sebastian s sister Julia.The family is presided over by the understated but quietly manipulative Lady Marchmain a terrifying portrait and gradually Charles learns about all the skeletons rattling away in the family s enormous closets He also comprehends what role the devout grand dame wants him to play in helping save Sebastian from a life of drink and debauchery.I know Waugh is best known as a r
If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name For the rest my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be Perhaps all our loves are merely hints and symbols vagabond language scrawled on gate posts and paving stones along the weary road that others have tramped before us perhaps you and I are types and this sadness which sometimes falls between us springs from disappointment in our search, each straining through and beyond the other, snatching a glimpse now and then of the shadow which turns the corner always a pace or two ahead of us. The view implicit in my education was that the basic narrative of Christianity had long been exposed as a myth, and that opinion was now divided as to whether its ethical teaching was of present value, a division in whic