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This guide provides a deep dive into Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited, crafted during his time off from the British army in World War II. It starts with an intriguing selection of Waugh's letters to his literary agent, A.D. Peters, and his friend Nancy Mitford, shedding light on his thoughts and experiences during the novel's creation.

Key Insights from Waugh's Letters

  • Writing Process: Waugh discusses his progress on the novel, mentioning a significant word count and his aim to finish by mid-May. These letters reveal his dedication and the potential interruptions he faced.
  • Publication Concerns: He shares concerns about the novel's reception and its audience, humorously noting that not many Americans might understand it. Waugh also talks about logistical aspects, such as warning his publisher to reserve paper for the manuscript, highlighting wartime constraints.

Thematic Concerns and Discussion Points

The guide likely delves into themes central to Brideshead Revisited, such as the impact of time and memory, the complexity of familial and romantic relationships, and the search for faith within a changing world. Though specific discussion questions are not detailed here, the guide would typically encourage readers to explore:

  • The significance of Waugh's wartime writing context on the novel's themes.
  • Characters' development and their reflections on faith, love, and societal change.
  • The novel's critique of aristocracy and exploration of spiritual redemption.


This reading group guide offers a unique lens through which to view Brideshead Revisited, not just as a work of fiction but as a historical document influenced by Evelyn Waugh's personal experiences and societal observations during World War II. Through Waugh's letters and the guide's thematic exploration, readers are invited to engage deeply with the novel's rich layers and enduring questions.