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: motifs ( )
00:20 

"[When in 1931 Evelyn Waugh visited Madresfield for the first time, he] took the Great Western..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
[When in 1931 Evelyn Waugh visited Madresfield for the first time, he] took the Great Western Railway to Malvern Link. In future years he would travel to Worcester on a quicker train, where Maimie would pick him up in the car and drive him back to Madresfield: the experience of being a passenger driven up to a stately home by a beautiful flapper girl would be recreated in Brideshead.

- Mad World by Paula Byrne


@: byrne, i am not i, julia, motifs, waugh

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04:47 

"Gosspis and sneers circulated in high society [about lord Beauchamp]: Well, you must expect..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
Gosspis and sneers circulated in high society [about lord Beauchamp]: Well, you must expect anything from a man that has his private chapel decorated like a barbers pole and an ice-cream barrow.

- Mad World by Paula Byrne


@: byrne, fairies, i am not i, lord marchmain, motifs, religion, they are not they

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04:51 

"Evelyn [Waugh] saw the hit revue Blakbirds many times, once with Alistair [Graham]...."

Brideshead
contra mundum
Evelyn [Waugh] saw the hit revue Blakbirds many times, once with Alistair [Graham]. [] On another occasion he saw the show and met its start, Florence Mills, in her dressing room afterwards.

-

Mad World by Paula Byrne



A party was being given that night in Regents Park for the Black Birds, who had newly arrived in England. One of us had been asked and thither we all went.
[]
Is the party going well? she asked anxiously. Dyou think Florence Mills would sing? Weve met before, she added to Anthony.
Often, my dear, but you never asked me to-night.
Oh dear, perhaps I dont like you. I thought I liked everyone.





@: it's a pity neither of us can sing, motifs

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06:06 

"From Eton he [William Lygon, later the 7the Earl Beauchamp, Hughs father] went on to Christ..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
From Eton he [William Lygon, later the 7the Earl Beauchamp, Hughs father] went on to Christ Church, Oxford, as was the custom for the family.

-

Mad World by Paula Byrne



She came; she admired my rooms My brothers Simon and Ned were here, you know. Ned had rooms on the garden front. I wanted Sebastian to come here, too, but my husband was at Christ Church and, as you know, he took charge of Sebastians education.





@: i am not i, lord marchmain, motifs, oxford, sebastian

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04:21 

"On becoming the Earl Beauchamp in 1866, Frederick threw himself into the life of the house and the..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
On becoming the Earl Beauchamp in 1866, Frederick threw himself into the life of the house and the county of Worcestershire (his Catholic sympathies meant that he was viewed with suspicion in royal and political circles, so he confined himself to the shires). He rebuilt large parts of Madresfield in the Gothic style. He beautified the gardens. And he began the tradition of an agricultural show for his tenants (in Brideahead Revisited Charles and Sebastian watch just such a show whilst sunbathing on the roof of the house).

- Mad World by Paula Byrne


@: brideshead, bridey, motifs, religion, they are not they

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03:26 

"As Waugh developed as a writer, he perfected a technique of combining the characteristics of..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
As Waugh developed as a writer, he perfected a technique of combining the characteristics of friends, enemies and acquaintances in order to create composite characters. [] Another aspect of Waughs creative sophistication was his way of splitting his own identity into more than one character.

- Mad World by Paula Byrne


@: byrne, i am not i, motifs, waugh

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22:51 

"When he [Evelyn Waugh] returned to London in the holidays, he saw a lot of Olivia [Puncket Greene]...."

Brideshead
contra mundum
When he [Evelyn Waugh] returned to London in the holidays, he saw a lot of Olivia [Puncket Greene]. As usual, her company was synonymous with heavy drinking and committed party-going. One party in particular ended up with Evelyn under arrest (an incident that turns up in Brideshead). Evelyn and Olivia gave a party, to which her cousin Matthey Ponsonby was invited. He came in his car and was sent out to buy more drink with Evelyn, who was, by this time, already drunk. The men stopped off for drinks along the way and were arrested for driving the wrong way around a traffic island. Matthew and Evelyn, Drunk and Incapable, were put into police cells. The next day, Evelyn was bound over at the cost of 2 ponds. It was far more serious for Matthew, who was the driver of the car. Though his father (the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs) bailed him out, Matthew came extremely close to a prison sentence. In the end he was banned from driving for a year and given a large fine, half of which Evelyn offered to pay: After all I was rather more than half to blame and I got off so lightly myself.

- Mad World by Paula Byrne


@: byrne, i am not i, motifs

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01:37 

A voice said: Hold up; another, Come...

Brideshead
contra mundum


A voice said: Hold up; another, Come on; another, Plenty of time . . . House . . . till Tom stops ringing; and another, clearer than the rest, Dyou know I feel most unaccountably unwell. I must leave you a minute, and there appeared at my window the face I knew to be Sebastians but not as I had formerly seen it, alive and alight with gaiety; he looked at me for a moment with unseeing eyes and then, leaning forward well into the room, he was sick.




@: oxford, motifs

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00:40 

His [William the 7th earls] children noticed that he rarely mentioned his own childhood,...

Brideshead
contra mundum

His [William the 7th earls] children noticed that he rarely mentioned his own childhood, school or Oxford days, and only visited his old governess, who lived in an almshouse in the village, out of duty.



Madresfield by Jane Mulvagh





@: motifs, I am not I

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04:19 

thebrightyoungpeople: Diana Mitford, sometimes known by her...

Brideshead
contra mundum


thebrightyoungpeople:



Diana Mitford, sometimes known by her marital names of Diana Guinness or Diana Mosley.



Already famed for her beauty, style, and charisma, Diana, at the age of 18, became secretly engaged to Bryan Walter Guinness shortly after her presentation at Court. Guinness, an Irish aristocrat, writer and brewing heir, would inherit the barony of Moyne. Her parents were initially opposed to the match but in time were persuaded. Sydney was particularly uneasy at the thought of two such young people having possession of such a large fortune, but she was eventually convinced Bryan was a suitable husband.


The couple were well known for hosting glittering society events involving the Bright Young People. Waugh exclaimed that her beauty ran through the room like a peal of bells. He dedicated the novel Vile Bodies, a satire of the Roaring Twenties, to the couple. Her portrait was painted by Augustus John, Pavel Tchelitchew and Henry Lamb.






@: motifs, waugh

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02:24 

Croquet and cricket

Brideshead
contra mundum

How did he do it?
Believe it or not, playing croquet. He lost his temper and tripped over a hoop. Not a very honourable scar.



[]


You know, Father, Charles and I simply dont know about cricket.


You dont mess with croquet


Americans frequently confuse the hoop game with cricket, regarding both as effete and archaic, but that ignores the formers dark heart


Theyve played cricket at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia since the 1850s. Todays game - played in brilliant sunshine on a gently sloping field surrounded by stately oaks - is between the British Officers (who are for the most part Indian and Pakistani) and Montego Bay (who are mostly Jamaicans living in New Jersey).


Our host for the day is octogenarian British Officers Cricket Club president J Alfred Reeves.


Arthur shows us around Haverfords amazing CC Morris cricket museum. Most astounding is a photo of the first English XI to visit the US in 1859. These salty, arrogant, muttonchop whiskered bastards look like theyve stepped straight off some hell-bound pirate ship. They look like theyd gouge their own mothers eyeballs out with a rusty cutlass for thruppence. And they probably did.


The reason the Flashmanesque meaty-thighs-akimbo insouciance of these louche cricketing thugs so startles is that in the US, cricket (once the national sport) is now regarded as symbolic as all that is effete, insipid and limp-upper-lipped about the British. In this respect it has only one rival - croquet. But that might be something to do with the horrible fact that a shockingly large number of Americans think cricket and croquet are the same game.


An American lady cruising past the boundary in an SUV slows to a stop and winds down her window.


Excuse me, whats this game theyre playing?


Its cricket.


Really? So is it like a special version?


No. Just cricket.


Oh? So wheres the hoops?


The next day I tell this amusing anecdote to the editor who sent me to report on the ancient and flourishing cricket scene in Philadelphia. She stares at me. Theres an awkward pause.


So cricket isnt the one you play with hoops? she says.


Last year the International Cricket Councils brilliantly named Malcolm Speed gibbered excitedly about Twenty20 coming to the US and kicking baseballs tired old ass. And well it might, being massively more exciting and more fun to watch. But first there is a huge obstacle to overcome: those Americans who dont think the game is played with hoops, a ball and a mallet, think its played with a bent-over giant playing cards, hedgehogs and live flamingos.


In England, of course, everybody knows that cricket is robustly virile, while croquet is effete, decadent and soft. Thus when John Prescott was caught playing croquet in 2006, he was held up as the living symbol of Labours slide into limp-wristed bourgeois corruption.


But everybody is wrong. Croquet players are hard, bordering on barbarous. Mock them and they attack like rabid badgers. Thats what happened in 2003 to former English Cricket Board Chairman Lord MacLaurin when he warned that cricket was in danger of becoming, like croquet , a summer sport that was.


He might as well have shoved his head into a sack of ferrets. The Daily Telegraph described croquet as one of the most self-serving, unsporting games ever played, requiring ruthless meanness and ungenerosity of spirit towards ones opponents. The Archdeacon of Oakham was quoted as saying it was a vicious game. And the inventor of combat croquet American publisher Herbert Swope, was exhumed to repeat his mantra: The game gives release to all the evil in you. It makes you want to cheat and kill its a good game.


If push ever comes to shove between cricket and croquet, cricket is dead. One only needs to look at depictions of croquet in popular culture to realise that beneath its fusty, twee exterior lurks a monster bent on destruction.


In Tom and Jerry, in Jasper Ffordes Thursday Next novels, in Calvin and Hobbes and in movie after movie - Heathers, Savages, North by Northwest, Barry Lyndon, The Shining, Nosferatu (no, really), The Avengers - croquet is the precursor to or the cause of violence, pain, death, horror and suffering.


A brief glance at the real history of croquet serves as confirmation that the sport is an in-heat wolverine in sheeps clothing - just ask the officers who arrested Dion Athanasius Smallwood in 2001 for beating his girlfriends mother over the head with a croquet mallet and then burning her alive in her car. A flash in the pan? Tell that to Elizabeth Hein. Except you cant. Because she was kicked to death by her husband after she made the mistake of beating him at croquet in Deptford Township, New Jersey in 1883.


The very roots of American croquet are dark, twisted and gnarled. In the 1890s croquet games on the Boston Common were attacked by clergymen as magnets for drunks, gamblers and the licentious. And while it might be an exaggeration to say that the history of America can be seen a non-stop carnival of croquet-related violence, it is certainly true that modern America is experiencing an explosion of mutant croquet monsterism, with the sport bursting out of its neatly pressed club-crested blazer like mild-mannered Dr Bruce Banner shredding his lab coat as he morphs into the incredible Hulk.


As you read this, young Americans are playing eXtreme croquet,
colossal croquet
and mondo croquet (sledgehammer and bowling balls).


(The motto of the extreme Lakewood Croquet Club in Seattle is
mallets plus morons equals mayhem.
)


While cricket and croquet continue their simmering feud in Blighty, North America seems set for a three way all-out sports-war war between newly energised Twenty20 cricket; stagnant, over-long and severely scandal-ridden baseball; and the savagely mutating outsider croquet.


Baseball and croquet have already come to blows - and baseball got its ridiculously trousered ass handed to it in a greasy doggy bag. In Calgary, Canada in 2002 a croquet game was attacked by softball* players who wielded their bats with a confidence that bordered on the arrogant. After a brutal brawl that only ended with the arrival of the police, three of the softballers ended in hospital, one needing surgery for a life threatening head injury.


Dont mess with croquet.

* Please dont write in saying that softball and baseball arent the same sport. They clearly are.




@: games, motifs

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04:00 

words & illustration by Jonathan Newdick. Sebastian Flyte...

Brideshead
contra mundum



words & illustration by Jonathan Newdick.


Sebastian Flyte and Charles Ryder are motoring from Oxford to Brideshead. The year must be about 1920. Evelyn Waugh is not specific but he does tell us that it was a cloudless day in June, when the ditches were white with fools parsley and meadowsweet and the air was heavy with all the scents of summer
Mr Waugh may be unfashionable today yet no-one writes better of the beauty of pathos or the futility of love. But Mr Waugh is possibly a poor botanist. When he mentions fools parsley he is probably thinking of cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris, also called Queen Annes lace. It is the ubiquitous plant of roadsides and is in bloom from April to June. Meadowsweet begins to flower in June so it could be seen together with Queen Annes lace but it is more usually associated, as its name suggests, with meadows than roadsides.
Had I been editing Brideshead Revisited, back in 1945, I would have the car passing through banks of Queen Annes lace and nothing else. It is a fine romantic name and one splashed with Catholic / Protestant conflict what better floral motif for Brideshead could there be? But its all too late. We can only accept the missed opportunity of Waugh and his editor at Chapman and Hall. Some authorities have suggested that the name of this tall but delicate perennial is far older than the English Queen Anne. Geoffrey Grigson in his Englishmans Flora suggests that the queen in question may be St. Anna, mother of the Virgin, but I have always assumed her to be, or, I suppose, wanted her to be, the Anne who became Queen of England in 1702 the tragic Anne of seventeen pregnancies and only one child surviving infancy.
This beautiful plant with the beautiful name is the food plant of several species of moth including the single-dotted wave whose caterpillars feed on it from September to April a good reason for allowing the stems to stand in the hedgerows long after flowering and yet another reason why local councils obsessions with suburbanisation and tidiness should sometimes be challenged.





@: motifs

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03:01 

"In Evelyn Waughs novel Brideshead Revisited, Lord Sebastian Flyte turns the pages of the News..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
In Evelyn Waughs novel Brideshead Revisited, Lord Sebastian Flyte turns the pages of the News of the World and sighs, Another naughty Scoutmaster. This was 1923, only a few years after the Boy Scouts had been created, but they had already become a source of indelicate mirth.

[]

Most good schoolmasters, Waugh wrote, are homosexual by inclinationhow else could they endure their work?


@: waugh, motifs

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06:00 

The original 1981 production was so influential that it had all...

Brideshead
contra mundum



The original 1981 production was so influential that it had all of America wearing cricket sweaters and vintage linen vestsand even eventually inspired Marc Jacobs seminal spring 2005 Louis Vuitton mens collection, which included an LV teddy bear.





@: I like getting drunk at luncheons, fashion, mini-series, motifs

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00:00 

"Homosexuality was considered by many to be a passing phase, which young men would grow out of once..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
Homosexuality was considered by many to be a passing phase, which young men would grow out of once they had left Oxford and begun to meet young women. In those days it was chic to be queer in the same way as it was chic to have a taste for atonal music and Cubist painting. Even old Arthur Waugh acknoledged as much: Alec called on me the other day with a new friend of his, a sodomite, but Alec tells me it is a coming thing.

-

Paula Byrnes Mad World


Yes, there are a lot more Byrne quotes coming - I did warn you when I started reading. :-)




@: waugh, oxford, motifs, fairies, Charles Ryder's Schooldays

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06:00 

"The change was not so apparent to them as to us, and they still congregated on occasions in our..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
The change was not so apparent to them as to us, and they still congregated on occasions in our rooms; but we gave up seeking them. Instead we formed the taste for lower company and spent our evenings, as often as not, in Hogarthian little inns in St. Ebbs and St. Clements and the streets between the old market and the canal, where we managed to be gay and were, I believe, well liked by the company. The Gardeners Arms and the Nags Head, the Druids Head near the theatre, and the Turf in Hell Passage knew us well; but in the last of these we were liable to meet other undergraduates pub-crawling hearties from BNC - and Sebastian became possessed by a kind of phobia, like that which sometimes comes over men in uniform against their own service, so that many an evening was spoilt by their intrusion, and he would leave his glass half empty and turn sulkily back to college.

-

Byrne, however, mentions that



such [as the Hypocrites] clubs were necessary because undergraduates were banned from going into citys pubs, for fear of town versus gown fistcuffs or liaisons with undesireable women.





@: grave sins, motifs, oxford, sebastian

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03:00 

"a very early effort of Waughs, a story called Anthony, Who sought Things that were Lost,..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
a very early effort of Waughs, a story called Anthony, Who sought Things that were Lost, written as an undergraduate for Harold Actons avant-garde student magazine Oxford Broom, and never afterwards republished. Anthony is a typical undergraduate effort, silly, sadistic, and modish only in one respect: it exploits the revival of interest in Elizabethan macabre made fashionable by Rupert Brookes pre-war study of Webster.

-

Although the story was never republished, we can find out a little about it in Paula Byrnes Mad World:



[Evelyn Waugh] wrote a story for the third number [of Oxford Broom, the magazine edited by Harold Acton], which was published in June 1923. Entitled Anthony, who sought things that were lost, it concerns a beautiful young aristocrat, born of a proud family, who seemed always to be seeking in the future for what had gone before. He was perhaps the first fictional draft for the Sebastian type, created exactly at the time when Evelyn was beginning to be drawn to Hugh and his kind.





@: books, motifs, sebastian, waugh

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01:00 

"In Evelyn [Waugh]s third term he changed to a more spacious set of rooms on the ground floor..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
In Evelyn [Waugh]s third term he changed to a more spacious set of rooms on the ground floor of the front quad. this left him vulnerable to people dropping in to dump their bags or to cadge a drink and a cigarette. He decorated the rooms with Lovat Fraser prints and kept a human skull in a bowl, which he decorated with flowers. One night a group of young bloods came into the quad drunk and looking for trouble. One of them leaned into Evelyns window and was violently sick.

-

Paula Byrnes Mad World


At least three quotes come to mind, the first two of them involving cousin Jasper.


  • Finally, just as he was going, he said, One last point. Change your rooms. They were large, with deeply recessed windows and painted, eighteenth-century panelling; I was lucky as a freshman to get them. Ive seen many a man ruined through having ground-floor rooms in the front quad, said my cousin with deep gravity. People start dropping in. They leave their gowns here and come and collect them before hall; you start giving them sherry. Before you know where you are, youve opened a free bar for all the undesirables of the college.

  • Or that peculiarly noisome object? (A human skull lately purchased from the School of Medicine, which, resting in a bowl of roses, formed, at the moment, the chief decoration of my table. It bore the motto Et in Arcadia ego inscribed on its forehead.)
    Yes, I said, glad to be clear of one charge. I had to pay cash for the skull.

  • It was shortly before midnight in early March; I had been entertaining the college intellectuals to mulled ,claret; the fire was roaring, the air of my room heavy with smoke and spice, and my mind weary with metaphysics. I threw open my windows and from the quad outside came the not uncommon sounds of bibulous laughter and unsteady steps. A voice said: Hold up; another, Come on; another, Plenty of time . . . House . . . till Tom stops ringing; and another, clearer than the rest, Dyou know I feel most unaccountably unwell. I must leave you a minute, and there appeared at my window the face I knew to be Sebastians but not as I had formerly seen it, alive and alight with gaiety; he looked at me for a moment with unseeing eyes and then, leaning forward well into the room, he was sick.




@: arcadia, charles, motifs, oxford, sebastian, waugh

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23:00 

"A scrum of drunken hearties from the rowing club ducked Harold Acton in his pyjamas in the Mercury..."

Brideshead
contra mundum
A scrum of drunken hearties from the rowing club ducked Harold Acton in his pyjamas in the Mercury Fountain in Christ Churchs Tom Quad.

- Paula Byrne, Mad World


@: anothony blanche, i am not i, motifs, oxford

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17:55 

This is Princess X, perhaps the most shocking sculpture by...

Brideshead
contra mundum


This is Princess X, perhaps the most shocking sculpture by Brancusi.



Now as you know I have two sculptures by Brancusi and several pretty things and I did not want them to start getting rough





@: anthony blanche, motifs, unhealthy pictures

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Brideashead revisited