Floreat Brideshead

Brideshead Revisited receives attention in several recent postings. The New Statesman carries a brief article in its “TV and Radio” column in which a viewer retrospectively considers the 1981 TV adaptation:

Watching it now, at the terrifying age of 53, I am reminded how valuable it is to encounter art repeatedly: some things give up their full meaning slowly. Brideshead Revisited is intended for persons who have reached a certain age and suddenly thought, “What am I doing here?” The characters experience love, but they also lose love…It is maddeningly slow, but so is life; it is an apologia for religion but that won’t hurt you. It’s good to give in to yearning now and then and to revisit the things that we loved and misunderstood when we were younger. It will be interesting to watch Brideshead Revisited again in 30 years, to see how I have changed.

A Roman Catholic blog recommends Brideshead among 5 “Catholic novels” for its readers during the winter months and the blogger (Cecilia Pigg) comes to a similar conclusion on the book as was noted above about the TV series:

I read it first in high school, and my character analysis notes read something like this: “Ew. Julia is so condescending and superficial. I would never hang out with her. Sebastian, stop running away from your problems. Just because your dad did doesn’t make it right. Cordelia was a holy terror before becoming the family rock. Don’t people realize that?!”…Upon reading it after high school, my observations are a bit more nuanced! But that’s what makes the book so memorable. The layers present in the story, particularly in the images Waugh paints, withstand the re-read test and age with you—allowing you to grapple with the story again and again.

Finally, the auction house Bonham’s has announced the sale of another copy of the  limited edition of the novel Waugh had printed in 1944 as Christmas gifts for his friends. This one belonged to Pansy Lamb (nee Pakenham) and sold for £16,250. The auctioneers offer this by way of background:

On receiving her copy of Brideshead, Pansy, who in the 1920s shared a flat with Waugh’s first wife Evelyn Gardner, wrote to Waugh “You see English Society of the 20s as something baroque and magnificent on its last legs…. I fled from it because it seemed prosperous, bourgeois and practical and I believe it still is”. 

The sale also included Lamb’s inscribed copies of Edmund Campion and Put Out More Flags which sold for £1,750 and £1,875, respectively. Copies of the inscriptions may be seen on the auctioneers’ website on the pages following the description of the Brideshead sale. The auction took place on 9 November 2016 in London.

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