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Brideshead Revisited

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Brideshead Revisited, first editionFirst U.S. edition
By Evelyn Waugh
Publication details ▽ Publication details △

The Sacred & Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder

First publication
1945, England

Literature form


Writing language

Author's country

Approx. 110,000 words

Notable lines

When I reached C Company lines, which were at the top of the hill, I paused and looked back at the camp, just coming into full view below me through the grey mist of early morning. We were leaving that day. When we marched in, three months before, the place was under snow; now the first leaves of spring were unfolding. I had reflected then that, whatever scenes of desolation lay ahead of us, I never feared one more brutal than this, and I reflected now that it had no single happy memory for me.
Here love had died between me and the Army.

— First lines

But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.


"'s so banal saying you have not read the book of the moment, if you haven't."

"Conversation should be like juggling; up go the balls and the plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them. But when dear Sebastian speaks it is like a little sphere of soapsud drifting off the end of an old clay pipe, anywhere, full of rainbow light for a second and then—phut! vanished, with nothing left at all, nothing."


"Who was it used to pray, 'O God, make me good, but not yet'?"


"O God, if there is a God, forgive him his sins, if there is such thing as sin...."


The avalanche was down, the hillside swept bare behind it; the last echoes died on the white slopes; the new mound glittered and lay still in the silent valley.


Something quite remote from anything the builders intended, has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time; a small red flame — a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem. It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.

I quickened my pace and reached the hut which served us for our ante-room.
"You're looking unusually cheerful today," said the second-in-command.

— Last lines


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