Brideshead Revisited

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Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder is a novel by the English writer Evelyn Waugh. It was first published in 1945. The novel deals with subjects such as religion, especially Catholicism, and the love of God. It tells the story of a family called Flyte. They are an aristocratic family. The story is told by a narrator called Charles Ryder.

Brideshead Revisited was made into a television serial for ITV, produced by Granada Television, in 1981. A movie of the book was made in 2008. The movie makes several changes to the story of the book. The movie is mostly about the relationship between Charles and Julia.

Plot[change | change source]

Charles Ryder, who tells the story, is a student at the University of Oxford. He makes friends with Sebastian Flyte, the younger son of an aristocratic family. Sebastian, who comes from a very rich family, takes Charles to his family's home, Brideshead Castle. Charles meets his family, including Sebastian's sister, Julia.

During the holiday Charles goes back to his home, where he lives with his father. During the holiday Sebastian has a small injury and Charles goes back to him. Sebastian and Charles spend the rest of the summer together.

Sebastian's family is Catholic. His father, Lord Marchmain, had been an Anglican, but he had converted to Roman Catholicism, his wife's religion. The family talk a lot about religion which surprises Charles, who had always thought that Christianity was not an important subject. Lady Marchmain, Sebastian's mother, is a very strict Catholic. She tries to control others by making them feel guilty. Sebastian finds comfort by drinking alcohol. He often gets drunk, and over a period of two years he has less and less to do with the Flyte family.

However, Charles is fated to meet the Flyte family again, and he falls in love with Julia, who by that time is married to a rich Canadian, Rex Mottram.

Charles's own wife has been unfaithful, so he plans to divorce her so that he and Julia can marry. However, Julia decides for religious reasons that it would not be right for her to marry Charles. As Lord Marchmain lay dying, he had received the sacrament of Extreme Unction. This act had also influenced Charles, who had been "in search of love in those days" when he first met Sebastian, "that low door in the wall...which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden,", an important metaphor in the book.

Charles became an architect. During the Second World War becomes an army officer. By chance he is billeted at Brideshead. It seems to him that builders do a useful job, even if there are problems sometimes.