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Brideshead Revisited Unabridged [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Evelyn Waugh
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)

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Audio, Cassette, Audiobook, Oct. 26 2000 --  
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Book Description

Oct. 26 2000 069452378X 978-0694523788 Unabridged

A classic of our time, beautifully performed by Jeremy Irons and the basis of the award-winning television mini-series, Brideshead Revisited tells the story of the Marckmain family, as narrated by friend Charles Ryder. Aristocratic, beautiful, and charming, the Marchmains are indeed a symbol of England and her decline; the novel a mirror of the upper-class of the 1920s and the abdication of responsibility in the 1930s. Brideshead Revisited has become shorthand for a fantasy era of titled elegance, dead-end hedonism and fatuous wit.

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A departure from Evelyn Waugh's normally comic theater, Brideshead Revisited concerns the tale of Charles Ryder, a captain in the British Army in post-World War I England. Unlike Waugh's previous narrators, Ryder is an intelligent man, looking back on much of his life from his current post in Oxford. He strikes a special friendship with Lord Sebastian Flyte as the setting moves to the Brideshead estate and a baroque castle that recalls England's prior standing in the world. Ryder falls for Flyte's sister while families, politics and religions collide. What makes the book extraordinary is Waugh's sharp, vivid style and his use of dialect and minor characters. This is one of Waugh's finest accomplishments and a superb book. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this classic tale of British life between the World Wars, Waugh parts company with the satire of his earlier works to examine affairs of the heart. Charles Ryder finds himself stationed at Brideshead, the family seat of Lord and Lady Marchmain. Exhausted by the war, he takes refuge in recalling his time spent with the heirs to the estate before the war--years spent enthralled by the beautiful but dissolute Sebastian and later in a more conventional relationship with Sebastian's sister Julia. Ryder portrays a family divided by an uncertain investment in Roman Catholicism and by their confusion over where the elite fit in the modern world. Although Waugh was considered by many to be more successful as a comic than as a wistful commentator on human relationships and faith, this novel was made famous by a 1981 BBC TV dramatization. Irons's portrayal of Ryder catapulted Irons to stardom, and in this superb reading his subtle, complete characterizations highlight Waugh's ear for the aristocratic mores of the time. Fervent Anglophiles will be thrilled by this excellent rendition of a favorite; Irons's reading saves this dinosaur from being suffocated by its own weight.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like Reading It for the First Time April 4 2003
Format:Audio Cassette
I had a friend who made it a point to read "Brideshead Revisited" once a year without fail. She considered it the finest book ever written. While I might quarrel with that hyperbole, I do in fact list it in my own personal top ten. I, too, re-read it, in my case, every few years. And of course I was riveted to the brilliant BBC production starring Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder.
Imagine my delight, then, when I found this unabridged reading by Irons himself! My delight was rewarded. Irons' perfect reading of this book opened up a whole new world for me. This time, I heard and felt the absolute poetry of Waugh's words--his ability to take his reader from sultry ... summertime to the slums of the Casbah to a storm at sea that is the perfect metaphor for the turmoil to come. Waugh never wasted a word. Never said more than he had to say. Never helped the reader by sugarcoating the story. And the result was breathtaking.
Maybe because I was listening this time rather than reading, I paid much more attention this time to the book's main theme, religion versus humanity. Can one exist without the other? Does one destroy the other? How far can one stray when bound by the "invisible thread"? Waugh's very personal and moving tale of upper-class Catholics in a Protestant country is a brilliant affirmation of faith, and at the same time, a bitter acknowledgement of the price that faith can exact.
I cannot say enough about this recording, which brings all the best of Waugh to the fore even more so than the written word.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story. Sept. 4 2003
By algo41
This is a story of an aristocratic, very Catholic family in Protestant England, and of the narrator, a well to do friend of the family who we meet as he enters Oxford, and leave as a middle aged establishment artist. It is a novel of character, but also of class, religion, and beauty. It is beautifully written, and is moving, sad and sometimes funny. Part of the genius of this novel is that not only do the characters evolve, but your understanding deepens, so that there is a cumulative impact. It is a book in which you cannot always take what the characters, including the narrator, say at face value, not because they are dissimulating, but because they don't have complete insight into themselves. Extending this idea, I would suggest that Catholicism is not quite as dominant an influence as the book seems to suggest, and that disfunctional parenting plays a major role that the narrator (not to be confused with Waugh) is not sufficiently developed as a human being to appreciate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect Elegy May 30 2001
Waugh's elegy to a passing way of life and ending era: the supposed death-throes of the English aristocracy in the years leading up to World War Two.
Waugh admitted that he wrote the book as "a panegyric preached over an empty coffin", and it certainly reads as such. Through the eyes of the narrator, Charles Ryder, the reader is taken on a nostalgia ride through Ryder's days as a student and his later connections with the aristocratic Flyte family. The main tone is regret - at lost youth, lost love, and a lost class. The future is looked forward to with dread - Ryder regards the soldiers he commands in World War Two with something approaching contempt:
"The history they taught [Hooper, an officer under Ryder's command] had had few battles in it but, instead, a profusion of detail about humane legislation and recent industrial change."
Ryder (and Waugh) knows that the national effort demanded by World War Two will mean that the old order will have to change after the war ends to accommodate the aspirations of the people as a whole.
The melancholy tone of the novel will surprise readers who are familiar with Waugh's more satirical works. It reflects an enduring theme in English culture which looks back to a idyllic rural past (a very powerful, yet totally mythical past) and reflects a deep unease with the Industrial Revolution and social change. The irony of it all is that Waugh's lamentations over the demise of the aristocracy greatly underestimated the (continued) adaptability of that class, and the sustaining power of that rural myth throughout English society as a whole. The funeral rites were premature.
I first read "Brideshead Revisted" some years ago and decided to reread it, having read a lot of Waugh's other works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The melancholic mood of the book makes it perfect ot be read under the shadow of a tree or on dark rainy afternoons. The dissapearence of a time, of a family, a class, and a love is perfectly mixed in the same story. But to feel it the book shall be read according to its inner pace. If you read it all in one night somehow you will lose part of its beauty. Also you shall not read this book if you are looking for action and fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A work of remarkable beauty March 3 2004
Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead, revisited" is a masterpiece of twentieth century literature. Spanning a period of twenty years, Waugh paints a most extraordinary picture of idyllic life fraught with undertones of deep sadness. Charles Ryder serves as the incarnate narrator of Waugh's halcyon brush strokes as Ryder emerges as the most critcal character in the book.
The women of "Brideshead" are either self-absorbed or flitty and the men are sillier yet. In fact, the second half of Waugh's work is more important than the first. In the latter half, Charles matures....the only person to do so. It is as if Charles is holding a movie camera throughout as the characters rotate in slow motion. They rarely move forward....just on to other locations. Waugh's greatest contribution is, however, his soft hintings of sexuality. These connections are largely left open to the reader's imagination and are gently manipulated by the feel of a warm breeze, the sight of a flower-filled field or the scent of spring.
A question I often asked myself while reading "Brideshead" was "are these people really connecting in any way?" My answer was "yes", but at a distance more relevant to the times and to the country. Charles's denouement was a curtain being pulled down on a dysfunctional family that had little real understanding of how to hold themselves together, but did so, anyway.
"Brideshead, revisited" can be read in a short time but, like an afternoon tea, should be consumed in small sips. The refreshment of Evelyn Waugh's descriptive prose evinces a master mind at work...the author turned painter. His canvas is a tour de force.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful read.
Wonderful use of the English language. Poetic. Interesting narrative. Beautifully written prose. Our reading group really enjoyed reading this book.
Published 4 months ago by Pamela Addinall
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
My husband wanted this book because it touches on so many aspects of what losing faith can do to a person. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Krystina Simpson
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting Brideshead...
If Charles Ryder is a rather wealthy version of Everyman, he is at least a good representative of modern man. Read more
Published 16 months ago by lexie2
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful
This is the second Waugh book I’ve read, and once again I’ve found myself a bit impatient early on, but totally enthralled and captivated by the end. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mark Nenadov
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic on memory
A classic on memory and remembering. It pays to be read and reread. The descriptions of the aristocratic house are especially enthralling.
Published on Jan. 21 2012 by Hektor Konomi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel
I could go on and on about how fantastic this novel is but that has been done already. This novel probably won't appeal to everyone, but certainly worth checking out. Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2004 by Allan Brinser
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture of salvation.
This book is not written in accordance with current literary tastes. It is descriptive to the point where it is florid sometimes; the writer's politics and elitism can easily... Read more
Published on Jan. 20 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic story told with beautiful writing
The quintesssential story of the years between the wars, full of rich detail, emotional understatement, a terrific story, a bitter-sweet romance. Read more
Published on April 14 2003 by Peggy Vincent
4.0 out of 5 stars His lesser qualities Still Good art
Brideshead is a gloomy book but a must-read nonetheless. I am sometimes embarassed to say I liked it enough to read it twice and I'm sure that I'll read it again. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2002 by L. Dann
5.0 out of 5 stars 'The Languor of youth - how unique and quintessential'
Brideshead Revisited is an eloquently written book, visiting themes such as religion, beauty and the 'languor of youth'. Read more
Published on June 11 2002 by Dr. Gege GATT
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