Without Further Ado… Brideshead Revisited

Although this is my first post, I think I’ll jump right into the nitty-gritty of this whole blogging thing (just bear with me, I’m new to this ;)).

I recently finished “Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh.

Here is the blurb,

Charles Ryder, a lonely student at Oxford, is captivated by the outrageous and decadent Sebastian Flyte. Invited to Brideshead, Sebastian’s magnificent family home, Charles welcomes the attentions of its eccentric, artistic inhabitants the Marchmains, becoming infatuated with them and the life of privilege they inhabit- in particular, with Sebastian’s remote sister, Julia. But, as duty and desire, faith and happiness come into conflict, and the Marchmains struggle to find their place in a changing world, Charles eventually comes to recognize his spiritual and social distance from them.

I’d actually seen the most recent film version of this before reading it. I would recommend them both. The movie, as far as I can recall, is fairly accurate to the storyline of the novel, and does it justice.

As for religion in “Brideshead Revisited”, Waugh’s stance on that isn’t clear to me, and I was left scratching my head with a puzzled look on my face. In a way Waugh is suggesting that Catholicism couldn’t survive in modern times, especially after the World Wars. As the Marchmains go forth into the changing world they almost seem to crumble and decay. They are left behind in the time of ancient religion and old money. However, *spoiler alert* the subtle hint at Charles’ conversion to Catholicism at the end of the book, suggests although the Wars brought about a time of Godlessness, that somehow people are tethered to God in a fundamental way. I think this is especially evident in the idea of “a twitch upon the thread”;

with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread.

Overall I really enjoyed this novel I would definitely recommend it. Not only was it intelligently written, but it was an enjoyable read.

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