03 October 2008

Banned books week - Day 5

I was going to end the week with this book because it's one of my all-time favourites, but instead I'm blogging about it today. It seems only fitting since it, too, starred Anthony Andrews when it was filmed for television in 1981.

It also starred Jeremy Irons and a lot of other amazing actors. But the cast isn't important. It's the characters that really matter. I read this one, for fun, for the first time when I was in middle school. I re-read it repeatedly for the next several years. Probably almost as often as I re-read The Lord of the Rings.

Brideshead Revisited started my love affair with Evelyn Waugh, King and Master of Irony. (Don't believe he deserves the title? Read The Loved One.) Brideshead Revisited really struck home to my adolescent self, even though I undoubtedly missed many of the nuances the first few times I read it. I read it again for the first time in something like 15-20 years this past summer and was reminded of everything I loved about it. The relationship of Charles and Sebastian. The way Charles tries so hard to protect Sebastian from his own family's well-meanning but horribly misguided "protection". How Charles's relationships with Sebastian and all of the Flytes changes over the years. There are few constants in the world, real or fictional, and Charles Ryder is the most constant of them all. It's one of the things I love about him. His beliefs are firm and unwavering, just like his affection for his friend. Maybe that's what drew me to him. From the very first time I read it, I could always relate to Charles. My own feelings tend to run towards the absolute, you know?

My friend who first turned me onto Brideshead Revisited had a teacher in high school, a priest, who called Charles his "favourite agnostic". I love that. It amuses me to this day. I guess you could say Charles is my favourite agnostic as well. Maybe that's why I keep re-reading the book.

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