We’ve just finished watching the sumptuous 1982 Granada TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisted, and this time, Ms Thirteen watched it with us.
I don’t know what Evelyn Waugh had in mind as he wrote the book, and really, I don’t care about his intended meaning, if any. ‘Though I am impatient with most post-modernism, I am quite taken with the idea that writing is completed by the reader, and ultimately, it is the reader’s reaction to the work that matters most.
As ever, I found the early episodes very beautiful, if nostalgic. Oxford was glorious, and the lifestyle of the great house was fabulous, for the privileged few. Really, I drooled my way through the series, enjoying the splendour of the architecture and the clothes and the art.
But this time round, in the final few episodes, instead of agonising with Julia, I simply got terribly impatient. For god’s sake, I thought (and yes, that is intentional), seize love!
Instead, she was trapped by the Catholic church into rejecting the man who loved her, and like her sister and brothers, she was defeated by the church. No partnership, no children, no connection. Those last few episodes are a savage indictment of the Catholic church of the 1930s.
Ms Thirteen was very disappointed by the way the story ended. We asked her what she thought about it all.
“Wow,” she said. “Don’t be a Catholic.”
“There’s more to it than that,” said Mr Bee. “What do you think the deeper ideas might be?”
She thought for a moment. “Really, really, really, don’t be a Catholic.”