Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

At the Telegraph , Philip Womack reviews Paula Byrne’s new book, Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead :

Brideshead Revisited must surely rank as one of the best-loved novels of the 20th century. Aloysius the teddy bear, Sebastian Flyte being sick through Charles Ryder’s window, Anthony Blanche declaiming TS Eliot through a megaphone—these images offer us a glimpse into an Arcadia we can never hope to enter. Evelyn Waugh believed the novel to be his masterpiece—only later did he come to disapprove of its sentimentality.

People have always tried to pinpoint the “sources” for Waugh’s characters. While acknowledging that Waugh’s supreme artistry lay in his ability to create originals out of composites, Paula Byrne has written a highly accomplished book about the family that came to inspire the Flytes of Brideshead: the Lygons (pronounced Liggon) of Madresfield. It was the family with whom Waugh fell in love, one that had more than its share of tragedy as well as laughter.

Read more.

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles