Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Brideshead Manor

Brideshead Manor. Imposing English country estate of the Marchmain family where troops are to be quartered in the early days of World War II and the location where this frame novel opens. The bulk of the novel comprises flashback memories of the house and its family of Charles Ryder, an army captain when the novel begins. Earlier, while a student at Oxford University, he befriends Sebastian Flyte, the younger son of Brideshead’s Lord Marchmain. From Charles’s first visit to Brideshead as a young man he senses the place’s importance to the Marchmains as he is drawn into their family circle. In addition to the home’s strong family associations, Charles comes to realize that it and its art nouveau chapel are emblematic of the strong Roman Catholic faith that guides the family even when their behavior is anything but exemplary.

*Oxford University

*Oxford University. Historic English university that is novel’s second great anchor. There Charles meets Sebastian and most of the friends he retains through the rest of his life. The heady charm of Oxford’s dreaming spires and intense friendships of youth influence Charles more than the university’s intellectual opportunities. The unimaginably wealthy and charming Sebastian introduces Charles to a new world of art and pleasure. Although Charles leaves Oxford without taking a degree and becomes a successful artist, Oxford continues to inspire him and remain a touchstone of his youth.

Ryder family home

Ryder family home. Charles’s childhood home...

(The entire section is 652 words.)

Historical Context

(Novels for Students)

The Pre-War Years and World War II
The book's events take place between 1922 and World War II. Charles Ryder's generation at...

(The entire section is 779 words.)

Literary Style

(Novels for Students)

Point of View
Brideshead Revisited is written completely from the first person point of view; that is, solely through the...

(The entire section is 798 words.)

Literary Techniques

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Brideshead Revisited makes excellent use of the techniques of close observation and parodic brilliance so prominent in Decline and...

(The entire section is 241 words.)

Social Concerns

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Brideshead Revisited is in some respects a continuation of the cynical view of English society so effectively expressed throughout...

(The entire section is 250 words.)

Compare and Contrast

(Novels for Students)

  • 1920s and 1930s: The African-American singer and dancer Josephine Baker creates a sensation in Paris with her risqué...

(The entire section is 308 words.)

Topics for Further Study

(Novels for Students)

  • Research the Spanish Civil War and how the numerous volunteers from all over the world played a part. Where did they come from, and why...

(The entire section is 289 words.)

Literary Precedents

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

The scope of Brideshead Revisited's portrait of a family in decline and an individual in search of spiritual conviction reflects...

(The entire section is 127 words.)


(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Brideshead Revisited was made into an eleven-part television series by the U.K.'s Granada Television in 1982. The adaptation was done...

(The entire section is 85 words.)

Media Adaptations

(Novels for Students)

  • Brideshead Revisited was adapted as a television miniseries in 1982, starring Anthony Andrews, Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, and...

(The entire section is 85 words.)

What Do I Read Next?

(Novels for Students)

  • Brideshead Benighted is a collection of politically incorrect satire authored by Evelyn Waugh's son, Auberon. The 1986 book...

(The entire section is 149 words.)

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)

Burdett, Paul S., Jr. "Author Evelyn Waugh Served Honorably in the British Army as an SAS Commando." In World War...

(The entire section is 282 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Cook, William J., Jr. Masks, Modes, and Morals: The Art of Evelyn Waugh. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1971. A valuable source because Cook analyzes the point of view employed in each of the novels. It is a commonplace observation that Waugh’s style changed in mid-career (just before publication of Brideshead Revisited); Cook argues that the altered point of view accounts for the stylistic change.

Davis, Robert Murray. Brideshead Revisited: The Past Redeemed. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1990. Summarizes the novel’s historical context, importance, and...

(The entire section is 400 words.)