Revisiting Brideshead on Its 75th Birthday

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The best 20th-century novel on time and grace

Editor’s note: Madeleine Kearns writes a weekly column noting peculiar aspects of cultural, artistic, and natural marvels.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE B etween December 1943 and June 1944, English author Evelyn Waugh took unpaid leave from the army to finish his novel Brideshead Revisited, now considered by many to be his greatest. The book (which Waugh first suggested calling “A Household of Faith”) has many themes — Catholicism, aristocracy, youth, redemption — but the author’s specific focus was, in his own words, “the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters.” Today Waugh’s religiosity, much like his traditionalist tastes, may seem

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