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PopUK Book Club: Brideshead Revisited, Section One

Welcome back, members of the PopUK Book Club. A fortnight ago I announced the title of our first foray: Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.

We've had a couple of weeks to get a copy and read Book One, so now it's time to discuss! You are of course welcome to read ahead, but please don't reveal any spoilers in the comments.

We'll discuss the second part next Monday, and the final part the following week, so we're ready to watch the film version (released 3 October).

After the jump you'll find some questions and topics to get the discussion started, but feel free to write about whatever you found interesting.

The next assignment: Read Book Two "Brideshead Deserted" by Mon. 22 Sept.

Ready to discuss the first section of Brideshead Revisited? Just read more.

  1. The Prologue is a stark contrast to the section that follows — what do you think about this device of Charles starting the narrative during the war, and then looking back over his life? And how does his first person narration affect your reading?
  2. Cara talks about the "romantic friendship" between Charles and Sebastian — what are your thoughts about the sexual or romantic aspects to their friendship?
  3. What role does religion play in this section, and the Flytes' Catholicism?
  4. Julia tells Charles: "You seem to let [Sebastian] boss you about a great deal" — why do you think Charles lacks power in each of his relationships?
  5. Charles writes about his nostalgia for the "languor" of youth — how does the theme of nostalgia come across in this section?
  6. We are introduced to all of the various members of the Flyte family by the end of this part — do you have particular favourites, or do you particularly dislike certain characters, and why is that? What about Sebastian's descent in to alcoholism?
  7. This section is set at various locations, including Brideshead, Oxford University, London and Venice — did you prefer one setting to the others? The title of this section ("Et in Arcadia Ego") suggests Charles once lived in a pastoral utopia — is this one of these physical locations, or is it his youth, or something else?

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