By Evelyn Waugh
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Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh ranked # 80 on The Modern Library's Top 100 Novels list as selected by its Board Members.
Brideshead Revisited, the Sacred and Profane Memories of Capt. Charles Ryder is a novel by Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1945. Waugh wrote that the novel, "deals with what is theologically termed, 'the operation of Grace', that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by which God continually calls souls to Himself". This is achieved by an examination of the aristocratic Flyte family, as seen by the narrator, Charles Ryder.
Time magazine includes Brideshead Revisited in its list of "All-time 100 Novels." In various letters, Waugh himself refers to the novel a number of times as his "magnum opus"; however, in 1950 he wrote to Graham Greene saying "I re-read Brideshead Revisited and was appalled." In Fathers and Sons (2004), a biography of five generations of the Waugh family, Alexander Waugh (son of Auberon and grandson of Evelyn) quotes Evelyn's preface to the 1960 revised edition of Brideshead. In this preface, Evelyn explains the circumstances in which the novel was written, in the six months between December 1944 and June 1945 following a minor parachute accident.
He is mildly disparaging of the novel, saying, "It was a bleak period of present privation and threatening disaster - the period of soya beans and Basic English - and in consequence the book is enthused with a kind of gluttony, for food and wine, for the splendours of the recent past, and for rhetorical and ornamental language which now, with a full stomach, I find distasteful."
Brideshead Revisited has become well-known to modern audiences as a result of the ITV drama serialisation of 1981, produced by Granada Television.
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