Another Lygon and More Bridesheads

The Daily Mail has an article about a recently pubished diary kept by two early women undergraduates at St Hugh’s College, Oxford: Dorothy Hammonds and Margaret Mowll. Their diary starts in 1905 and describes the restricted lives of the Oxford women students of that period; they could not venture outside the college after dark even to university sponsored activities without proper chapersones. So far as romantic interests in male counterparts are concerned, these were largely confined to the pages of their diary. One student in particular caught both their fancies:

,,,the greatest object of their desire appears to have been the undergraduate they christened ‘the Pride of all the Beauchamps’ — the Hon Henry Lygon of Magdalen College, the younger brother of Earl Beauchamp who was said to be Evelyn Waugh’s model for Lord Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited. A coloured ink sketch made in the diary by Dorothy shows a golden-haired, handsome and debonair young man cycling with a pile of books under his arm.  November 21, 1905 was clearly a day of great excitement for both the girls.  ‘This is indeed a day of days, MKM has actually seen Face to Face the Pride of all the Beauchamps. This is the first time he has been seen accidentally in the flesh — Thus the need of capital letters.’ In December it was Dorothy’s turn: ‘DMH has astounding luck, the Pride of the Beauchamps again crossed her path, looking, she is sorry to say, horsey and common but nevertheless charming.’

The Mail’s reviewer, Barbara Davies, misses the opportunity to compare Henry Lygon to his nephew Hugh who, a generation later, attracted the romantic attentions of Evelyn Waugh and contributed to the character of Sebastian Flyte in Waugh’s novel. The diary is published by St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and is entitled Dare Unchaperoned to Gaze and is available here.

Other Brideshead news is related to drama. The student paper of the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (The Vermillion) reports the student production of Tom Stoppard’s 1993 play Arcadia. This connection to Waugh’s novel is included in an article about a preview of the play:

The name is taken from “Et in Arcadia ego” (“Even in Arcadia, there am I”), the 17th century painting by French Baroque artist Nicolas Poussin, and refers to the presence of death even in a utopia. It also doubles as a reference (intentional or not) to Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited,” in which Charles Ryder has a human skull bearing the inscription on its forehead. In “Brideshead,” this is a crucial part of the mise-en-scène: embodying (sans the body) the image of a futile search for paradise and serving as a reminder of the imminence of death and the same themes apply to Stoppard’s work.

Finally, an entertainment news publication in Adelaide, South Australia, reports the production of a stage adaptation of Brideshead. This is not the version by Bryony Lavery staged last year in England but an earlier adaptation by Roger Parsley. The production is being performed by Adelaide’s Independent Theatre, which recently staged an adaptation of The Great Gatsby. It is scheduled to open on 17 November at the Goodwood Theatre.

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