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Context Literature / BridesheadRevisited

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1[[quoteright:304:]]²[[caption-width-right:304:Sebastian is gay and loves bears--and by that we ''don't'' mean [[TheBear oversized and very hairy males]] for once]]²²->''"Its theme -- the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters -- was perhaps presumptuously large, but I make no apology for it."''²-->-- '''Creator/EvelynWaugh''', ''Preface to the 1945 Edition''²²²''Brideshead Revisited'' is a 1945 novel by Creator/EvelynWaugh about the relationship/love-affair between Charles Ryder, a middle class man, and various members of a [[ImpoverishedPatrician decaying]] family of English Roman Catholic aristocrats, most notably the lovable, but [[TheAlcoholic dipso]], {{manchild}} Sebastian Flyte and [[spoiler:later his [[DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest sister Julia]].]]²²Made into a successful mini-series by ITV in 1981 starring Creator/JeremyIrons as Charles and Creator/AnthonyAndrews as Sebastian, and a feature film in 2008 with [[{{Film/Watchmen}} Matthew Goode]] and Creator/BenWhishaw in the roles.²²----²!!The novel provides examples of:²²* TheAlcoholic: Sebastian starts as a young, tormented guy, and a major point in his part of the story is when he becomes an alcoholic. The problem is exacerbated by Sebastian's mother's belief that the only solution is [[MyBelovedSmother ever-tighter supervision]], even though Charles points out that Sebastian drinks less when he feels himself free of his [[BigScrewedUpFamily overwhelming family]]. But Sebastian's mother [[BlameGame accuses Charles of being wantonly cruel]] when he gives Sebastian money to get drunk on. Sebastian's descent into alcoholism is PlayedForDrama.²* AloofBigBrother: Sebastian's elder brother, who's name is also [[EmbarrassingFirstName Brideshead]], acts so "logically" and "to the point" most of the time that he typically treats his siblings coldly.²* AmbiguouslyBi: Charles's relationships with Sebastian and Julia suggest this, although he shows no interest in men other than Sebastian. It's also worth noting that romances between Oxford undergrads were ubiquitous at the time and [[SituationalSexuality not seen as indicative of future orientation]].²* AmbiguouslyGay: Sebastian's orientation is never outright stated, but he clearly prefers the company of men -- some of whom are openly gay -- and shows no interest in women.²* BigFancyHouse: Brideshead itself is an old mansion, with a full staff and enough rooms that Sebastian and Charles can be comfortably away from the rest of the family while Charles visits.²* {{Brick Joke}}: Early in the book, Mulcaster is involved in hazing of Anthony Blanche. Anthony predicts that the men who did it will remember this while they live boring lives. Halfway through the book, Mulcaster brings up the incident.²* CampGay: Anthony Blanche. He is a flamboyantly dressed aesthete who is outspoken about his sexuality and even buys Charles a drink at a gay club at one point.²* ChristianityIsCatholic: Notably averted in the novel, where the distinctions between different kinds of Christianity are important to the plot.²* ConvertingForLove: It's a given that anyone who wants to marry into the Flyte family must convert to Catholicism. Rex Mottram's attempt to do so is an EpicFail--partly because he doesn't give a hang for religion, partly because Cordelia feeds him false information as a joke (he believes, for instance, that you can condemn anyone's soul to Hell by paying the Church a small fee). ²* CureYourGays: Very ambiguously implied when Rex mentions that the [[spoiler:sanitorium he plans to send Sebastian to treats sex cases as well as alcoholism.]] Lady Marchmain seems to miss this as she responds by wondering about the kind of company [[spoiler:Sebastian]] would have there.²* DownerEnding: By his own admission, Charles [[spoiler:ends the book homeless, childless, loveless and middle-aged, and pretty much nobody else lives happily ever after either.[[note]]Lady Marchmain dies knowing she has failed Sebastian; Sebastian never recovers from alcoholism and lives as a pity case in a distant monastery; Julia punishes her own infidelity by refusing to marry Charles and becomes a 'batty' spinster; Brideshead is robbed of his titular inheritance at the last minute; Lord Marchmain is brutally forced to relinquish the principles by which he has led his life on his deathbed. Even Samwise and Rex, the closest the book has to antagonists, wind up with their ambitions thwarted.[[/note]]]] Still, it also ends with the intimation that he finds religion. [[spoiler:After it might have mattered.]] Hallelujah!²* EnsignNewbie: Charles's UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Military service is hindered by the clumsy, but well meaning Lieutenant Hooper.²* EverybodySmokes: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] given the time period.²* EvilMatriarch: One interpretation of Lady Marchmain.²* FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator: Played straight and then subverted -- Charles initially is little more than an outside observer upon Sebastian and his family, but after the TimeSkip becomes the novel's proper protagonist.²* GenteelInterbellumSetting: The bulk of the action takes place between 1923 and 1939.²* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: Considering it was first published in 1945 the book gets away with an awful lot. No one batted an eyelid at the flamboyant Anthony Blanche, ambiguously gay main character Sebastian Flyte, and conspicuous HomoeroticSubtext between him and Charles. (Unless you knew the real people of whom they were [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed thinly veiled fictionalizations]].)²* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: In-universe; Charles is relieved to have a valid reason to hate his wife due to her infidelity but cheerfully abandons his own family for Julia.²* HeroicBSOD: Julia has one of these when Lord Brideshead calls her out on her adulterous relationship with Charles.²* HeterosexualLifePartners: Charles and Sebastian. [[AmbiguouslyGay Maybe.]]²* MamasBabyPapasMaybe: Charles consistently refers to Caroline as his ''wife's'' baby, indicating his belief that she is not his daughter but the product of Celia's adultery.²* {{Manchild}}: Sebastian is this, at least at the start. Complete with teddy bear.²* MinorInjuryOverreaction: Sebastian sends a telegram to Charles saying that he's dying; Charles arrives to find that Sebastian really just broke a tiny bone too unimportant to name.²* TheMistress: Cara, Lord Marchmain's mistress.²* [[MissingMom Missing Mum]]: Charles's mother passed away when he was young.²* TheNotLoveInterest: Sebastian is this to Charles, and the "forerunner" to his later loves.²* ParentalAbandonment: Charles doesn't really care for either of his children, emphasized best when [[spoiler:he goes to London to begin his serious affair with Julia instead of returning home to meet his son and daughter, the former who made him a Welcome Home banner for the occasion and the latter who was born when he was away and who he ''never even met!'']]²* ThePlan: Arguably played by God, of all people. [[spoiler:Almost all of the characters eventually find religion in the end, despite their attempts to run away]].²* SecondLove: Charles's first love is for Sebastian but when Sebastian becomes more distant due to his alcoholism problem, Charles--after an unhappy marriage--ultimately courts Sebastian's sister Julia (which turns out to be another ill-fated relationship). There are shades of the DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest here because Charles notes the striking similarity between Julia and her brother when he first encounters them. Towards the end of the novel, Charles considers his feelings for Sebastian a sort of forerunner to his devotion to Julia.²* SettleForSibling: How one can interpret Charles's feelings for Julia.²* SpeechImpediment: Blanche, as well as Kurt. ²* TheSpock: Bridey²* TrophyWife: Averted: Bridey thinks he's made quite the catch with the divorced mother Beryl but pretty much everyone who meets her is turned off by her appearance and demeanor; multiple people wonder why one of the most eligible bachelors in London chose her.²** Mottram sees Julia as one and finds himself disappointed after he marries her and finds it going nowhere.²%%* WackyFratboyHijinx²* UsefulNotes/WorldWarII: The framing narrative is set during the war, which sees Charles posted to the requisitioned Brideshead and reminiscing about his time with the Flytes. ²* YourCheatingHeart: Both Charles and Julia are involved with other people when they get together.²²----²²!!The mini-series provides examples of:²²* TheGhost: In the miniseries, Mrs. Muspratt never quite makes it onscreen.²* ToneShift: Most apparent in this adaption, where the first half of the series offers an almost nostalgic window into the lives (and loves) of aristocratic young Englishmen, whereas the second half of the series feels more like a very staid, cold analysis and commentary on religion. ²²----²²!!The movie provides examples of:²* AdaptationalAttractiveness: Cordelia is described in the novel as having grown up plain to the point where Charles is at first disappointed to see her; Felicity Jones, however, is too adorable to ever be considered "plain."²** AdaptationalCurves: Julia is waifish in the books but is played by the much more buxom and curvaceous Hayley Atwell (Emma Thompson fought the demands for Atwell to lose weight for the role). This makes her look a lot less similar to the appropriately waifish Ben Whishaw, eroding one of book!Charles's motivations for falling for her (that she resembles her brother).²* AdaptationalVillainy: Lady Marchmain.²* ChristianityIsCatholic: Oddly kind of inverted in the film, with the nominal Catholics behaving more like Evangelicals.²* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler:Charles learns near the end of the film that Bridey died in the Blitz.]]²* SceneryPorn: The movie was filmed on location at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. There are a lot of nice shots of Oxford and Venice, as well.²* SiblingTriangle: In the 2008 movie, Sebastian has a thing for Charles, but the latter and Julia are in love. In the book and mini-series, Charles's relationship with Julia comes ten years after the friendship with Sebastian has ended and there are no signs of a love triangle.²* TriangRelations: Between Charles, Sebastian, and Julia.²------


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