Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brideshead Redisovered?

Via the Telegraph:
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.
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.
The article goes on to outline some of the similarities between the characters in Brideshead Revisited and the members of the Lygon family.

3 comments:

Mark said...

If you're interested, Andrew Cusack has reviewed the film here, too.

Seraphic Single said...

I have always found it so interesting that Waugh, who was such a bad-tempered chap, and an ultra-conservative to boot, remained deeply sympathetic to homosexuals.

Mark said...

I think he came from a world/time which was decidedly more sympathetic to them as persons, whilst still being very harsh on the sin itself.

Nowadays the situation is reversed, we must (by virtue of legislation) love both the sin and the sinner, but we seem to be losing genuine sympathy, empathy and charity, in favour of a faux constructed, legal, charity.