12 July 2011

Brideshead Revisited (The Brookner Edition)

I couldn't resist buying this remaindered copy of Brideshead Revisited this past weekend. If I think to much about the cover I don't think it really has much to do with the text. Although I love the image on the cover, I think it over emphasizes the time Sebastian and Charles spent at Oxford. Makes it look like it is going to be an academic novel.

This is perhaps the only film tie-in book cover I am not ashamed of. The television series was so amazing and led me to Brideshead in the first place. I have had this copy for probably 20 years at least.

And some of you may remember these two copies I picked up at a school book sale a few months ago.

Which one do you like the best?

Oh right, the Anita Brookner connection. This was a tough one. Hard to find a connection between Evelyn Waugh and Anita Brookner. When I did some Googling I kept coming up with hits for all of your blogs that mention Brookner and Waugh on the same page. The only connection I was able to find is that Diana Quick who played Lady Julia Flyte in the television series also voiced a Brookner audiobook (Undue Influence) in 2000.

How is that for an iron-clad connection?


  1. Oh those are beautiful - I especialyl envy the tv tie in. I have at least 3 copies of BR but none are terribly nice. (I think my father has a pristine HARDBACK tv tie in IIRC)

  2. I like the Penguin cover the best. That type of artwork seems to be a growing trend in book cover design. I like it myself.

  3. Creative.
    Brideshead (version 1) is truly, in my opinion, the best thing every made for television. That Penguin cover is great, although I have the "companion" version myself.

  4. I do like the Penguin cover which reminds me of silk screen art. But I own the TV tie-in one with the cast inside the circle. I like that too. I wish I'd kept it in better shape, but the book's been handled a lot.

    For me, it's so hard to choose between the book and the Granada TV version. Both are just superb.

    I think the show was the best thing ever made for television. I agree with Ted.

  5. I also have that Penguin edition which ties in with the television series, but the Australian version so the wording is a little different. But I prefer my other copy, also a Penguin, published as part of their Modern Classics series and with a cover drawn by Quentin Blake:


  6. Haha, nice work! I want the connections to get more and more tenuous every day. Tomorrow - connections between Karl Marx and Anita. The day after - between Groucho Marx and Anita.

    I haven't read Brideshead, and was surprised to see you mention that the first cover (my favourite of these, and the one I own, I think) over-emphasised the time they spent at Oxford. I thought the whole thing was at Oxford, is it not?

  7. Verity: It would be interesting to see which three you have. And what is "IIRC"?

    CB: I agree, I love the Penguin cover. some of Viragos new covers kind of go this direction.

    Ted: You are absolutely right. The movie version was a waste of Emma Thompson's talent.

    Yvette: Thankfully I own the TV version so I can watch it anytime I want.

    Karyn: I really like the version you posted. I think that may be my favorite.

    Simon: See, the cover is misleading. They do meet at Oxford and forge their relationship at Oxford, but then Sebastian gets sent down and well the rest happens away from Oxford. Still, this should not dissuade you from reading. Or frankly, better yet, watch the TV series (not the movie). It will make you want to read the book immediately.

  8. This reminded me of the 1965 movie of The Loved One also by Waugh that I saw twice yesterday (on TCM channel)-really a great hilarious movie

  9. Argh, Thomas! I love Brideshead too. This is a really challenging question - intertextual relationships between Brookner and Brideshead. The Diana Quick crossover is a great find!

    I thought there might be something through the art historical connection. Charles as a (perhaps questionable) painter. Or Antoine as an aesthete. Or the degenerate aristocratic family complementing the Goncourt brothers, the Baudelaire or even Huysman's novels (also Catholicism there).

    Then i thought 'arcadia.' AB often invokes the prelapsarian, arcadian time. Fay sings 'Arcady' repeatedly in Brief Lives. Which has some resonance with Charles' first chapter Et in arcadia ego / I was there too - which complements the trope of the backwards turn.

    Wikipedia tells me (*blushes*) that Et in Arcadia ego is the name of 2 Poussin paintings and in the Mick Brown interview, AB says that The Triumph of David, by Nicolas Poussin was the first painting that truly moved her.

    How direct do these connections have to be?!

  10. Mel: I didn't realize that The Loved One was a movie. Must look into that.

    Peta: I think your connections are a lot sounder than my Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon variety. Which makes me wonder. How many degrees of separation between Kevin Bacon and Anita Brookner?

  11. The Loved One was made into a very funny, near camp classic movie-sometimes the humor is a little broad-it was shot in black and white and has some great visuals-I hope you have the opportunity to see it

  12. I've finished this book recently. I think it is a extraordinary novel about the ordinary way in which the Holy Spirit touches an artist.


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