Synopses & Reviews
An outsider's account of a troubled aristocratic family, written by the celebrated English novelist. Charles Ryder, the narrator, is a dull and rather pompous undergraduate at Oxford when he meets Sebastian Flyte, a wealthy and sybaritic classmate. The two become improbable friends, and Sebastian brings Charles to Brideshead, his family estate, and introduces him into the circle of rich aristocratic layabouts who inhabit the place. Charles falls in love with Sebastian's sister, Julia, but religious objections (Charles is divorced, and the Flytes are Catholics) stand in the way of their marriage. Although strongly satirical in parts, and written with the savage wit for which Waugh was renowned, Brideshead Revisited is a work of rare sensitivity and depth.
"'My theme,' says the narrator in Evelyn Waugh's latest, his most carefully written and deeply felt novel, 'is memory, that winged host.' It has an almost romantic sense of wonder, together with the provocative, personal point of view of a writer who sees life realistically. The emotional tone and content of Brideshead Revisited are accordingly heightened beyond any Mr. Waugh has acheived before. Brideshead Revisted is Mr. Waugh' finest achievement." John K. Hutchens, New York Times review, December 1945
Waugh tells the story of the Marchmain family. Aristocratic, beautiful and charming, the Marchmains are indeed a symbol of England and her decline in this novel of the upper class of the 1920s and the abdication of responsibility in the 1930s.
About the Author
Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966), whom Time called "one of the century's great masters of English prose," wrote several widely acclaimed novels as well as volumes of biography, memoir, travel writing, and journalism. Three of his novels, A Handful of Dust, Scoop, and Brideshead Revisited, were selected by the Modern Library as among the 100 best novels of the twentieth century.