Wednesday, December 9, 2020

"Brideshead Revisited changed my life"

 That's a search string. I typed it in looking for a particular article that I found a while ago and wanted to comment on again. I did find it but I also found a whole lot of other links on the same theme. That shouldn't surprise as it changed my life too. I think I actually saw it first in the winter of 1982. Anyway, that's another post for another day.

The article that caught my attention was, ‘Brideshead Revisited’ changed my life. Can it work its magic on the ‘Downton Abbey’ generation? It appears in the Jesuit publication America. Alas, there is nothing particularly Jesuitical about it anymore; perhaps not surprising as there isn't much Jesuitical about the Jesuits anymore either.

Luckily, the article is written by a Protestant, not a Jesuit, and it features the following brilliant insight:

A key thread of the novel is the Augustinian insight that our cravings for the delicious, fleeting experiences of the world—the things we feel, in our youth particularly, as love or pleasure—may lead us to sin, to excess or to addiction; but these seemingly superficial delights are signifiers of, even gateways to, the deeper felicities of creation.

That's right. Waugh was very much out of the decadent tradition. Is that really an Augustinian insight. Well, it's neo-Augustinian for sure and that's good enough for me. 

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