Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Book learning #53
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.
I don't think I've ever picked up a book with such loaded preconceptions before. I don't think my preconceptions have ever been dashed away in quite such an agreeable fashion.
Up until July 2009 I associated the phrase 'Brideshead Revisited' with useless upper class fops wincing about Oxford and hugging teddy bears. I thought that was the whole story. Despite the fact that I have read and for the most part, enjoyed, a lot of Evelyn Waugh's books I had never tried this one, the image of the 1981 TV dramatisation (abovementioned fops etc) completely put me off, despite the fact that I had never even seen the TV version.
It was a wet Sunday afternoon when I found this on a shelf at a friend's house. I took it home and became engrossed. It was perfect for light summer evenings, romantic and nostalgic yet real enough in terms of characters and plot to keep the lower middle class twentyfirst century reader engaged.
There is only one teddy bear hugging upper class fop, though prominent throughout as a theme, he features little in person. Even then, in the book he's a sympathetic character.