New Brideshead Edition Announced

Waugh’s North American publisher Little, Brown & Co. has announced plans to issue a new edition of Brideshead Revisited in November. This is to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Little, Brown’s publication of the book in January 1946. Here are some excerpts from the announcement posted by Publishers Weekly:

…In November, Little, Brown will release the 75th anniversary edition of Evelyn Waugh’s novel, set in the interwar years and centered on an Oxford student who becomes enchanted and then disillusioned with his friend’s aristocratic family. The book has enjoyed various renaissances since it was first published in the U.K. in 1945 and in the U.S. the following year.

The 1982 paperback edition of the novel, for example, published around the time that PBS began airing the BBC TV [sic] adaptation starring Jeremy Irons. It’s sold almost 600,000 copies, according to Bowen Dunnan, publishing associate at Little, Brown imprint Back Bay. Since then, the book has been cemented as part of the Western canon, appearing in the Modern Library’s 1998 list of the 100 Best Novels and, more recently, on New York Public Library’s list of 125 beloved books from the last 125 years. […]

To mark the anniversary, Little, Brown had intended to take part in a festival celebrating the book at Castle Howard, an opulent estate in North Yorkshire, England, where both screen adaptations of the novel were filmed. But because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival, originally scheduled for this summer, was canceled. It’s perhaps fitting for a novel concerned with the decline of the aristocracy that promotion will now take place largely on the democratic turf of the Web. Dunnan is looking forward in particular to a social media read-along, and seeing, he says, “people bringing different perspectives to the book.”

A copy of the cover for the new edition accompanies the PW posting. It is a color drawing depicting the leading actors from the 1981 Granada adaptation on a vintage car in front of Castle Howard.

The article appears in PW’s “Backlist Backbones” column by Daniel Lefferts, where it also announces new mass market and trade paperback editions of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. The 75th anniversary of Animal Farm’s publication will also be observed in 2020. Berkley Books will be the publisher as explained in this excerpt:

…The updated editions of Animal Farm, an allegory of Russia’s post-revolution descent into tyranny, also come with a new introduction by novelist Téa Obreht, who grew up in former Yugoslavia. “Coming out of an authoritarian system,” Lee says, Obreht can “frame Animal Farm for the current reading audience.”

While the new releases are tied to Animal Farm’s anniversary, precedent suggests Orwell’s books may experience a sales uptick as the U.S. nears yet another pivotal election. Orwell’s “rate of movement is very high always,” Lee says, because readers turn to the author “to make sense of larger world events around them.”

Cover illustrations for the new 1984 editions also accompany the article.

Both Brideshead and Animal Farm were published first in the UK– in May 1945 and in August 1945, respectively. In both cases, US publication followed in 1946– Brideshead in January by both Little, Brown and Book of the Month Club and Animal Farm in August by Harcourt, Brace.



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