Short summary - Brideshead Revisited - Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

British literature summaries -

Short summary - Brideshead Revisited
Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

During the Second World War, while in England and commanding a company that did not take part in hostilities, Captain Charles Ryder received an order from the command to transfer his subordinate soldiers to a new location. Arriving at the destination, the captain discovers that he was in the Brideshead estate, with which all his youth was closely connected. Memories cover him.

In Oxford, in the first year of college, he met the offspring of the aristocratic family Marchmeynov, his peer Lord Sebastian Flyt, a young man of extraordinary beauty and a lover of extravagant pranks. Charles was captivated by his company, his charm, and young people became friends, spending the entire first year of study in friendly revels and frivolous tricks. During the first summer holidays, Ryder first lived in his father’s house, in London, and then, after receiving a telegram from Sebastian saying that his friend was crippled, rushed to him and found him in Brideshead, the Marchmeins family estate, with a broken ankle. When Sebastian fully recovered from his illness, his friends left for Venice, where Sebastian's father and his mistress Kara lived at that time.

Sebastian’s father, Lord Alexander Marchmain, has long lived apart from his wife, Sebastian’s mother, and hated her, although it was difficult to explain the reason for this hatred to anyone. Sebastian had a difficult relationship with his mother. She was a very pious Catholic, and therefore her son was oppressed by communication with her, as well as her own older brother Brideshead and sisters, Julia and Cordelia, who were also raised in the Catholic faith. The mother demanded that each member of the family be able to stay within the strict framework prescribed by religion.

After returning from summer vacation to Oxford, young people found that their life lacked the former fun and past lightness. Charles and Sebastian spent a lot of time together, sitting together for a bottle of wine. One day, at the invitation of Julia and her fan Rex Mottrem, young people went to them for a holiday in London. After the ball, pretty drunk, Sebastian got into the car and was stopped by the police, who without long conversations sent him to prison for the night. From there, Rex rescued him, a rather arrogant and grasping man. Above Sebastian, the University established the painful custody of Catholic priests and teachers, accompanied by periodic visits by Lady Marchmein. He washed down and was expelled from Oxford. Charles Ryder, for whom being at a university without a friend, especially since he decided to become an artist, has lost its meaning,

On Christmas week, Charles arrived in Brideshead, where all the family members had already gathered, including Sebastian, who had made a trip to the Middle East with Mr. Samgrass, one of the teachers assigned to take care of him back in Oxford. As it turned out later, at his last stage, Sebastian fled from his companion to Constantinople, lived there with a friend and drank. By this time, he had already turned into a real alcoholic, whom hardly anything could help. He shocked and upset his family with his behavior, so Rex was instructed to take Sebastian to Zurich, to the sanatorium to Dr. Baretus. After one incident, when Charles, grinning over a penniless friend who was also severely restricted in alcohol consumption, supplied him with two pounds for a drink in a nearby pub,

Soon, Rex appeared there in search of Sebastian, who fled from him on the road to Zurich, taking with him three hundred pounds. On the same day, Rex invited Charles to a restaurant, where at dinner he selflessly talked about his plans to marry the beautiful Julia Marchmain and at the same time not to lose her dowry, which her mother resolutely refused him. A few months later, Rex and Julia actually got married, but very modestly, without members of the royal family and the Prime Minister, with whom Rex was familiar and counting on. It was like a «secret wedding,» and only a few years later did Charles know what really happened there.

Captain Ryder’s thoughts switch to Julia, who until now has only played an episodic and rather mysterious role in Sebastian’s drama, and subsequently played a huge role in Charles’s life. She was very beautiful, but could not count on a brilliant aristocratic party due to the fact that their noble family had a seal of immoral behavior of her father, and because she was Catholic. It so happened that fate brought her together with Rex, a native of Canada, who made his way to the highest financial and political circles in London. He mistakenly suggested that such a party would become a trump card in his fast-paced career, and used all his strength to capture Julia. Julia really fell in love with him, and the wedding date had already been set, the most significant cathedral was rented, even the cardinals were invited when it suddenly became clear that Rex was divorced. Shortly before this, he accepted the Catholic faith for the sake of Julia, and now, as a Catholic, he had no right to marry a second time with his first wife alive. Violent debate broke out in the family, as well as among the holy fathers. In their midst, Rex stated that he and Julia prefer a wedding according to Protestant canons. After several years of married life, the love between them dried up; Julia revealed the true essence of her husband: he was not a man in the full sense of the word, but "a small part of a man pretending to be a whole human being." He was obsessed with money and politics and was a very modern, latest «fabrication» of that century. Julia told Charles ten years later, during a storm in the Atlantic. Violent debate broke out in the family, as well as among the holy fathers. In their midst, Rex stated that he and Julia prefer a wedding according to Protestant canons. After several years of married life, the love between them dried up; Julia revealed the true essence of her husband: he was not a man in the full sense of the word, but "a small part of a man pretending to be a whole human being." He was obsessed with money and politics and was a very modern, latest «fabrication» of that century. Julia told Charles ten years later, during a storm in the Atlantic. Violent debate broke out in the family, as well as among the holy fathers. In their midst, Rex stated that he and Julia prefer a wedding according to Protestant canons. After several years of married life, the love between them dried up; Julia revealed the true essence of her husband: he was not a man in the full sense of the word, but "a small part of a man pretending to be a whole human being." He was obsessed with money and politics and was a very modern, latest «fabrication» of that century. Julia told Charles ten years later, during a storm in the Atlantic. Julia revealed the true essence of her husband: he was not a man in the full sense of the word, but "a small part of a man pretending to be a whole human being." He was obsessed with money and politics and was a very modern, latest «fabrication» of that century. Julia told Charles ten years later, during a storm in the Atlantic. Julia revealed the true essence of her husband: he was not a man in the full sense of the word, but "a small part of a man pretending to be a whole human being." He was obsessed with money and politics and was a very modern, latest «fabrication» of that century. Julia told Charles ten years later, during a storm in the Atlantic.

In 1926, during a general strike, Charles returned to London, where he learned that Lady Marchmain was dying. In this regard, at the request of Julia, he went to Algeria for Sebastian, where he settled for a long time. At that time he was in the hospital and getting better after the flu, so he could not go to London. And after the illness, he did not want to leave, because he did not want to leave one of his new friend, the German Kurt, with a sore foot, whom he had picked up in Tangier dying of hunger, took to himself and about which he was now taking care. He did not succeed in ending drunkenness.

Returning to London, Charles found out that the Marchmaines' London house would be sold due to financial difficulties in the family, they would demolish it and build a profitable house in its place. Charles, who has long been an architectural painter, at the request of Brideshead, captured the interior of the house for the last time. Having safely survived the financial crisis of those years thanks to his specialization, having published three magnificent albums of his reproductions depicting English mansions and estates, Charles left for Latin America for a life-changing change in his work. There he spent two years and created a series of beautiful paintings saturated with tropical colors and exotic motifs. His wife came from England to New York by prior arrangement, and together they sailed back to Europe on the ship. During the trip, it turned out that with them Julia Marchmaine was sailing with England, succumbed to passion and falling into America after the man whom she thought she loved. Quickly disappointed in him, she decided to return home. On the ship during the storm, which contributed to the fact that Julia and Charles were constantly alone with each other, because they were the only ones who did not suffer from seasickness, they realized that they loved each other. After the exhibition, which was immediately organized in London and was a huge success, Charles informed his wife that he would no longer live with her, which she was not very upset about, and soon acquired a new admirer. Charles filed for divorce. Julia did the same. In Brideshead, they lived together for two and a half years and were about to get married. she decided to return home. On the ship during the storm, which contributed to the fact that Julia and Charles were constantly alone with each other, because they were the only ones who did not suffer from seasickness, they realized that they loved each other. After the exhibition, which was immediately organized in London and was a huge success, Charles informed his wife that he would no longer live with her, which she was not very upset about, and soon acquired a new admirer. Charles filed for divorce. Julia did the same. In Brideshead, they lived together for two and a half years and were about to get married. she decided to return home. On the ship during the storm, which contributed to the fact that Julia and Charles were constantly alone with each other, because they were the only ones who did not suffer from seasickness, they realized that they loved each other. After the exhibition, which was immediately organized in London and was a huge success, Charles informed his wife that he would no longer live with her, which she was not very upset about, and soon acquired a new admirer. Charles filed for divorce. Julia did the same. In Brideshead, they lived together for two and a half years and were about to get married. immediately organized in London and having great success, Charles informed his wife that he would no longer live with her, which she was not very upset about, and soon acquired a new admirer. Charles filed for divorce. Julia did the same. In Brideshead, they lived together for two and a half years and were about to get married. immediately organized in London and having great success, Charles informed his wife that he would no longer live with her, which she was not very upset about, and soon acquired a new admirer. Charles filed for divorce. Julia did the same. In Brideshead, they lived together for two and a half years and were about to get married.

Julia's elder brother, Brideshead, married Beryl, the admiral’s widow with three children, a reticent lady of about forty-five, whom Lord Marchmain disliked at first glance, who had returned to the family estate due to the outbreak of hostilities outside of England. In this regard, Beryl and her husband could not get there, as she had hoped, and besides, the lord bequeathed the house of Julia, who was going to marry Charles,

Cordelia, Julia's younger sister, whom Charles had not seen for fifteen years, returned to Brideshead. She worked as a nurse in Spain, but now she had to leave. On her way home, she visited Sebastian, who moved to Tunisia, again converted to faith and now working as a minister at a monastery. He still suffered very much, for he was deprived of his own dignity and will. Cordelia even saw in him something from the saint.


Lord Marchmein arrived at Brideshead, who were very old and terminally ill. Before his death, a clash broke out between Julia and Charles over whether to disturb his father with the last sacrament or not. Charles, as an agnostic, did not see the point in him and was against it. Nevertheless, before his death, Lord Marchmain confessed his sins and overshadowed himself with a sign of the Cross. Julia, who had long been tormented by the fact that at first she lived with Rex in sin, and now she was consciously going to repeat the same thing with Charles, chose to return to the fold of the Catholic Church and part with her lover.

Now the thirty-nine-year-old infantry captain Charles Ryder, standing in the Brideshead chapel and looking at the candle burning on the altar, realizes its fire as a connecting link between the eras, something extremely significant and just as burning in the souls of modern soldiers far from home, as it was burning in souls of ancient knights.