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Evelyn Waugh and Brideshead

The latest issue (April 2010) of Vanity Fair has an insightful article on Evelyn Waugh and Brideshead Revisited.

The 6-page article affirms that Charles Ryder manifestly is Evelyn Waugh. Brideshead Revisited contains as large a dose of autobiography. The main character is based on the brother of his female friends, Lord Beauchamp, whose homosexuality had been an open secret for years. Although homosexual acts were a criminal offense, it was not thought gentlemanly to make them a subject for public attack. Beauchamp felt confident that he could continue his double life without being exposed by his colleagues or the press. Homosexuality was also considered by many to be a passing phase (as seen in novels like Maurice, Giovanni’s Room, etc.), which young men would grow out of once they had left Oxford and begun to meet young women.

3 Responses

  1. Brideshead Revisited is truly a study in how homosexuality was treated back then. I was truly saddened by the idea of Sebastian, with his spirit and his teddy bear, then to find out what becomes of him years later after a lifetime of trying to suppress who he was.

  2. Thank you for sharing this information! My book club’s next selection is Brideshead Revisited, and I now feel a bit more prepared to start reading it!

  3. Oh, thanks for the heads up on this–I will look for it this weekend. I have only read Scoop, but it was a brilliant satire and I would love to read more–most notably Brideshead Revisited! I am also reading A Room with a View now and contemplating more of EM Forster by picking up Maurice next!

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