Colm Tóibín introduces Hemingway’s early masterpiece.
Illustrated by Harry Brockway
Introduced by A. N. Wilson
Aristocratic privilege stands on a precipice in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, a nostalgic study of class and character, newly illustrated with Harry Brockway’s stylised wood engravings for this Folio Society edition.
Charles Ryder’s cousin warned him against taking rooms on the ground floor of his Oxford college, so when the young Lord Sebastian Flyte is sick through his window, it seems he should have heeded the advice. However, no one is immune to Sebastian’ inimitable charm and soon a relationship develops that will change Charles’ life for ever. Chosen as one of Time magazine’ 100 greatest novels of all time, this is Waugh’s most popular book, combining aching sympathy for the passing of privilege with the best of his razor-sharp wit.
Quarter-bound in blocked cloth with printed Modigliani paper sides
Set in Dante
Six wood engravings
Printed two-colour throughout
9½˝ x 6¼˝
Observations of a disappearing world
Ryder is socially and financially out of his depth among his Oxford cohorts yet he’s enamoured with the aristocratic entitlement and easy living that they enjoy. However, these are unsettled times and Waugh’s characters must move with the changing social landscape. Sebastian is beguiling but needy; his family’s eccentricities appear increasingly dysfunctional as the post-war years roll on and Ryder’s life becomes more intertwined with theirs through professional success and personal liaisons.
The novel pinpoints a very precise moment in British social history and Waugh perfectly recreates the ambiance of the period; the aristocracy cling to their privilege and Ryder becomes increasingly vocal about his anti-religious sentiment. Despite the distractions of the beautifully crafted prose, the reader remains painfully aware of the imminent war, while Ryder and his contemporaries enjoy the bounties of privilege, blissfully ignorant of impending events.
A new edition of a classic novel
To illustrate one of the greatest literary masterpieces of the 20th century, we worked with wood engraver Harry Brockway. His work will be well known to Folio readers, with recent commissions including the Maigret collection. Here, he has created stylised scenes that take us straight back to Brideshead and its characters’ devil-may-care lives. Brockway also designed the striking binding art – an evocative portrait for the front and subtle motifs of swirling cigarette smoke on the back. Award-winning novelist A. N. Wilson writes of Waugh’s skill for crafting memorable characters in the newly commissioned introduction to this edition.
About Evelyn Waugh
About A. N. Wilson
A. N. Wilson was born in North Staffordshire. He taught literature for seven years at New College, Oxford, where he won the Chancellor’s English Essay Prize and the Ellerton Prize. He is the author of over 20 novels and as many works of non-fiction. His biography of Tolstoy won the Whitbread Prize in 1988 and his biography of Queen Victoria was published in 2014 to critical acclaim. He is also the author of The Victorians (2002; Folio edition 2008) and of God’s Funeral (1999), an account of how the Victorians lost their faith. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.