Nostalgia In Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited

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In his famous novel, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh weaves a lavish tale of one man’s aristocratic adventures, mainly concerning the Flyte family, in the more peaceful years between the first and second world wars. As that man, Charles Ryder, is looking back on those times from the 1940’s, a period brimming with strife and suffering, it is only natural that nostalgia plays an important role in defining his character and narration. However, it is not only Charles who seems to romanticize the past, but also two of the most prominent characters in the novel, Sebastian and Julia Flyte. Each of them is driven through life, for better or for worse, by blinding nostalgia for a romanticized past which creates empathetic, humanized characters whom …show more content…
The memory she shares of her opinion of him provides a fascinating contrast to the beginning of the novel when it seemed that she gave little to no thought to the idea of Charles as a romantic interest in any capacity. And so, this is the way that her nostalgia is demonstrated in Charles’ narration. She seems to revise her memory, expanding it to favor the story of some lost love connection that has been reclaimed. A much more romantic tale than that of two acquaintances who both wish to escape their marriages. This inclination she has towards nostalgia makes her character much more relatable and admirable for it humanizes her and makes the audience empathetic towards her and her lost love. Just like nostalgia was the impetus for Charles and Julia’s relationship in the first place it also ends it. Nearing the end of the novel, and in the face of her father’s death, Julia begins to see her family’s religion in a much more sacred light than she had before. Because of the traumatizing event of her father’s passing, she decides that she and Charles cannot be together. She says, “But the worse I am, the more I need God…But I saw today there was one thing unforgivable—like things in the schoolroom, so bad they were unpunishable, that only mummy could deal with” (Waugh 393). This speech she gives to

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