Monday, June 23, 2008

Brideshead Revisited, Revisited

But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiousity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city.

That's one of my favorite sentences in the English language. The 1981 BBC production of Brideshead Revisited includes it in its entirety, which is just one example of why that screenplay is the greatest work of adaptation in the history of filmed entertainment.

All of this is by way of saying that I've written something elsewhere about the new Brideshead that you might find interesting.


Anonymous said...

Here love had died between me and Miramax.

Jeff Peterson said...

Your favorite sentence is a bit ornate for my taste (Wikipedia reports that Waugh himself later decried the book's "rhetorical and ornamental language which now, with a full stomach, I find distasteful"), but I can recall few passages that hit me harder than the following, at the end of Hooper's description of Brideshead to Ryder:

[Hooper:] " . . . You never saw such a thing."
"Yes, Hooper, I did. I've been here before."
The words seemed to ring back to me enriched from the vaults of my dungeon. [I could do without that rhetorical ornament, actually. But here comes the punch to the gut.]
"Oh well, you know all about it. I'll go and get cleaned up."
I had been there before. I knew all about it.

Man oh man!

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Hollywood? Seriously. It's a bad joke.

But anyway, I loved the 1981 Brideshead Revisited. Soon after, I went to Oxford for a summer school course and was housed in the Meadow Building at Christ Church, where Sebastian had his rooms in the novel. The thrill of my young life. But regretfully, no one ever read "The Wasteland" off a balcony with a megaphone while I was there.

I also loved another series from the same period--The Jewel in the Crown. Also an excellent adaptation and, like Brideshead, a complete fictional world to sink into.