Brideshead Revisited (1945)
[Retorno a Brideshead // Retour à Brideshead // Reviver o passado em Brideshead // Regresso à velha mansão]

WAUGH, Evelyn
  •  Destacado

  • Moral assessment: (L-A2) Nothing inappropriate, although it may not be appropriate for younger readers
  • Public: Generic

The narrator is Charles Ryder and he becomes involved in an aristocratic Catholic family after making friends with Sebastian Flyte at Oxford. Sebastian is handsome and an alcoholic. Devout Lady Marchmain will not divorce her unfaithful husband who has run away to Venice with his mistress. Beside the mother, Ryder meets the heir Lord Brideshead and Sebastian’s two sisters Julia and Cordelia. Evelyn Waugh was born in London in 1903, was educated at Oxford and died in 1966. He married in 1928, divorced two years later and was received into the Catholic Church. This book is thought to be largely autobiographical and had the working title of ‘The Household of Faith’. The author ornately calls its theme ‘the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters’. C.C. (U.K., 2017) The book is the story of an English noble family, the Marchmain, old-Catholic, and the life of the parents and their 4 children: Sebastian, Brideshead, Julia and Cordelia. The story is told by a friend of Sebastian (Charles Ryder), who met him and became his friend at the University of Oxford. The theme of the book is the action of God's grace upon a group of distinct and close people: this is the declared, and achieved purpose, by the author himself. The mother is the head of the family, but she fails on holding them together. Having educated her children well, she sees two of them sink in life. The father, who converted to Catholicism to marry her, escapes to Italy, and finds himself a mistress. When his wife dies, he returns to Brideshead, to live the rest of his life, to die in the old mansion. His children (and even Ryder) take care of him. Some of the scenes described are quite harsh, but they describe the real life: for example, the university anarchy, the emptiness of ideas and morals of society, the lives of artists, the parents that leave or ignore their children. The book is very good: not for the weak behaviors of some people, but because they know the doctrine, the moral, and there is a personal effort to be a better person. J.G. (Portugal, 2017) Descreve uma família nobre inglesa, os Marchmain, velho-católica, e a vida do casal e dos seus 4 filhos: Sebastian, Brideshead, Julia e Cordelia. A história é contada na primeira pessoa por um amigo de Sebastian (Charles Ryder), que o conheceu e se tornou seu amigo na universidade de Oxford. O tema do livro é a acção da graça de Deus sobre um grupo de pessoas distintas, mas muito próximas: este é o propósito declarado, e conseguido, pelo próprio autor. A mãe é o pilar da família, mas não consegue mantê-la unida. Tendo educado bem os filhos, vê dois deles afundarem-se. O pai, que se converteu ao catolicismo para casar com ela, acaba por fugir de Deus - e por isso, dela, chegando a odiá-la. Vai para Itália, arranja uma amante; tendo morrido a mulher, no fim da vida volta com aquela a Brideshead, para morrer na velha mansão. Mas esta, os filhos e até Ryder, cuidam dele, empenham-se e conseguem que ele se converta. Numa cena final, ponto culminante do livro, este fará o sinal da Cruz ao receber a absolvição. Alguns dos ambientes descritos são duros, mas retratam a mentalidade reinante: por exemplo a anarquia universitária, o vazio de ideias e moral da sociedade, a vida dos artistas, o abandono dos filhos por parte de alguns pais. O livro é muito bom: não pelos comportamentos fracos de algumas pessoas, mas porque conhecem a doutrina, a moral, e há um esforço pessoal por viver e ser melhor pessoa no dia a dia. J.G. (Portugal, 2017)

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What do the moral assessments mean in relation to works of literature?

The assessments are divided into two groups, one for Literature (L) and the other for Thought (P). For Literature the assessments are as follows:

  •  L-A1: Nothing morally inappropriate.
  •  L-A2: Nothing morally inappropriate, although may be unsuitable for younger readers (e.g. because there are topics requiring a certain maturity on the part of the reader).
  •  L-B1: Some morally inappropriate content.
  •  L-B2: Contains significant sections contrary to faith or morals.
  •  L-C1: Contains some lurid passages, or presents a general ideological framework that could confuse those without much Christian formation.
  • L-C2: Contains several lurid passages, or presents an ideological framework that is contrary or foreign to Christian values.
  •  L-C3: Explicitly contradicts Catholic faith or morals, or is directed against the Church and its institutions.

What do the moral assessments mean in relation to non-fiction works?

Works of Thought (P) are assessed according to the degree of knowledge required to evaluate the implications of affirmations made with respect to the Christian faith.

  • P-A1 or P-A2: These books present doctrinal matters in accordance with the teaching of the Church as set out, for example, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They avoid complicated topics and subjects not yet theologically settled. They are grouped according to whether or not they require a certain minimum of Christian formation.
    •  P-A1: General readership.
    •  P-A2: Readers with general cultural or basic Christian formation.
  • P-B1 or P-B2: To appreciate how certain topics impinge on the faith, the reader requires a good cultural formation with respect to the matters dealt with (P-B1), or even university-level studies in these areas (P-B2). In particular, these books may take for granted certain widely-held opinions opposed to the faith, even though such ideas may not be central to their argument – and can be easily detected by readers with a certain amount of formation.
    •  P-B1: Requires prior general knowledge of the subject.
    •  P-B2: Readers with Christian formation and knowledgeable about the subject matter.
  • P-C1, P-C2 or P-C3: Because of the implications of the topics dealt with, or the need to be aware of the reasons why some of the theories set out in the book are invalid, it is always necessary for the reader to have very good formation in the area in question, whether university-level (P-C1) or specialist (e.g. a doctorate: P-C2). Hence the assessments place emphasis on the objective content of the book, rather than on its possible readership. The P-C3 assessment is reserved for those works which set out to contradict or deny certain aspects of the faith or the teachings of the Catholic Magisterium.
    •  P-C1: Contains doctrinal errors of some importance.
    •  P-C2: Whilst not being explicitly against the faith, the general approach or its main points are ambiguous or opposed to the Church’s teachings.
    •  P-C3: Incompatible with Catholic doctrine.

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