Evelyn Waugh’s most celebrated novel is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family. Written during World War II, the novel mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous plea-sures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, “Brideshead Revisited” transcends Waugh’s familiar satiric exploration of his cast of lords and ladies, Catholics and eccentrics, artists and misfits, revealing him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity. The edition reprinted here contains Waugh’s revisions, made in 1959, and his preface to the revised edition.
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