Jason's Reviews > Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
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's review
Jul 09, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Recommended for: the well-read and those who claim to be

An English novel dating from near the end of World War II, Brideshead Revisited is an elaborate and fascinating reminiscence of a time passed. A novel told in reverie by eyes looking back.

At the core of the novel is the friendship between Oxford classmates Charles (the narrator) and Sebastian. One thing separates Charles and Sebastian. Class. A ubiquitous theme in the best English novels, portrayed here as well as it is in any counterpart in English fiction. One thing unites them. Affection. Perhaps love. As told by Waugh, in an also rather English manner, rinsed clean in major part of sexual desire, it is a uniquely, and often painfully, powerful tale of an extraordinarily deep emotional bond and attraction between two men. That the telling is largely sexless only further highlights Waugh's near-perfect conveying of what must be viewed as an abiding, subtextually homosexual devotion of one man toward another. The purity of the emotion -- emotion treated in isolation and confinement -- sets forth on the pages of Brideshead Revisited one of the most moving of connections between two characters in Anglo-American fiction.

What ties them together remains steadfast -- through Sebastian's fits and turns, and through Charles' transparent efforts to lead, because he cannot have Sebastian, Sebastian's life.

The effect of Waugh's writing is detailed above. The quality of it is more than worthy of note. Brideshead Revisited is, by Waugh, an expertly wrought piece of craftsmanship. Beautiful, subtle, emotive, and witty. At a minimum.

If that were not sufficient testament to the greatness of this novel, Sebastian's childlike affection for his teddy bear Aloysius is a clever and, frankly, odd plot insertion, the delight of which is, by my mind, unparalleled in Anglo-American fiction.

Brideshead Revisited is a masterpiece.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 9, 2007 – Shelved as: favorites
July 9, 2007 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-2)

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message 2: by Atyg (new)

Atyg Unlike many reviews here, you don't dish out personal judgements, instead, much humanity, mature insight.

Greg Jason, it's gotta be love, but Ryder/Waugh throw it all away for Brideshead. And then Ryder has nothing. Lesson learned! Nice review!

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