Another Brideshead Birthday Greeting

Today’s Daily Telegraph carries another article by Eleanor Doughty marking the 70th anniversary of Brideshead Revisited‘s publication on May 28, 1945. The article begins by discussing models used by Waugh for characters in the novel, breaking no new ground in that area. There are also interviews with several journalists who were Oxford students in the 1980s when Brideshead TV mania would have been at its height. None found much left over in their day of the Brideshead aura described by Waugh. Harry Mount does, however, recall “one guy who did, as a joke actually, on the night before his exams, eat lots of charcoal biscuits like Charles Ryder does.”

The article concludes with a brief discussion about how important it was to Waugh and his generation that they be able to amuse their friends. Derek Granger, producer of the 1980s Granada TV series, recalled from his earlier days as a journalist in the 1950s an interview of Waugh, asking “if we were to expect any more comic novels, [to which] Waugh reportedly replied: ‘Do you think it highly unbecoming for an elderly man like myself to continue in the vein of his youth?’” In a later entry in his diary, a few years before his death, Waugh wrote “We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us but for ours to amuse them.” (Diaries, p. 790) As Doughty notes in her conclusion, the amusement from Waugh’s writings has continued.

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