The inspiration for Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited is detailed in a new book showing how closely the author based his fictional characters on a family with whom he spent long periods in the 1930s.The article goes on to outline some of the similarities between the characters in Brideshead Revisited and the members of the Lygon family.
It shows how the character of the flamboyant, teddy bear-owning aristocrat Sebastian Flyte was inspired by an Oxford contemporary with whom Waugh was infatuated and who, like his fictional counterpart, was a tortured alcoholic who died young.
Both 1981's acclaimed television adaptation of the novel, and a Hollywood film due out this year use Castle Howard, the extravagant North Yorkshire country pile, as the setting for Brideshead, the stately home of the Flyte family.
But the real inspiration, according to the work by Jane Mulvagh, was provided by Madresfield, a moated house in the Malvern Hills, in Worcestershire.
For almost 1,000 years, the property has been the home of the Lygons, the family of the Earls Beauchamp. In her history of the building and its owners – Madresfield, The Real Brideshead – Mrs Mulvagh has spoken to the family, including some of those who knew Waugh, studied his letters to them and explored the property.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Via the Telegraph: