grace through alcoholic weakness, as a gardener in a Tunisian monastery; Cordelia driving ambulances for General Franco; and the genial Glaswegian priest who administers last rites to Lord Marchmain who, after. But it is Brideshead that dominates the popular vision of Waugh; Brideshead that was a huge hit in America after it came out in 1945; Brideshead that was made into the excellent Granada series in 1981, and the third-rate film in 2008. In his review. Before the Granada series, Brideshead hadnt exactly slipped off the literary map.
Charles, Sebastian, Julia, even Lord Marchmain, come to share this belief. On the whole, though, the lyricism of Waugh's depiction of the aristocracy, their great houses, and their place in the English landscape and English scheme of things, seemed beautiful rather than ridiculous. After this happy revisitation of the book, these remain my favourite bits. Perhaps not; but in each case, the sheen and polish of the artefact is Winterhalter-glossy. Brideshead Revisited was easily the most popular of Waughs books. A devout Julia separates from the divorced Rex Mottram, and backs out of marriage to Charles, who has already been married. Waugh was shocked by this letter, but acknowledged in 1959 that he had gone over the top in his luscious, hedonistic descriptions. And all of them, in one way or another, end up genuflecting. You see English society write a profile essay of the 20s as something baroque and magnificent on its last legs I fled from it because it seemed preposterous, bourgeois and practical and I believe it still.
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