“…his days in Arcadia were numbered.”
In the event that Charles needs some musical accompaniment for sobbing into his moustache… here is a Brideshead Revisited mixtape.
1. You Made Me Love You- Harry James (C Company Lament)
2. The Lark Ascending- Vaughan Williams (The Peculiar Splendor of Meadowsweet)
3. Un Héros Très Discret- Alexandre Desplat (Matriculations)
4. Hummingbird- George Winston (The Most Conspicuous Man)
5. Did I Remember?- Billie Holiday (A Time of Economy and Instruction)
6. La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin- Claude Debussy (Bloomsbury Strikes Again)
7. Ain’t Misbehavin’- Fats Waller (Catalogue of Sins)
8. La Notte (Allegro)- Vivaldi (The Injury Grave)
9. Lullaby- George Winston (Very Near Heaven)
10. They Can’t Take That Away From Me- Billie Holiday (The Painted Parlour and I)
11. First Self-Portrait Series- Rachel’s (October Arrived and Aloysius Forgotten)
12. Fly- Ludovico Einaudi (The Loneliest Man in Oxford)
13. Gymnopédie I- Erik Satie (We Talk of Nothing But)
14. Theme- Jon Brion (A Very Beautiful Place)
15. Good-Bye- Benny Goodman & His Orchestra (Quomodo Sedet Sola Civitas)
Who knew Sebastian looked so suspiciously Tennant-ish?
I know of these romantic friendships of the English and the Germans. They are not Latin. I think they are very good if they do not go on too long…It is a kind of love that comes to children before they know its meaning. In England it comes when you are almost men; I think I like that. It is better to have that kind of love for another boy than for a girl.’ (Brideshead Revisited, 1.4)
~Said by Cara, the mistress of Sebastian Flyte’s father, to Charles Ryder, Sebastian’s intimate friend.***
I am reading ‘Brideshead Revisited’ as vacation reading, spurred, perhaps, by how struck I was by the movie adaptation of several years ago, and by my fondness for queer history and literature.
I saw the 2008 film when it came out, but didn’t get around to reading the book until now. So my impression of BR was that it was a story with homosexual themes, because that element is certainly played up in the film adaptation, with the tentative, heady kiss between Sebastian and Charles shown in the above clip. I am not surprised that there was no such kiss in the book, which was published in 1945 and was widely read; kisses between men were not the sort of thing that would make a post-war novel popular. But I have been surprised to read some very overt mentions of homosexuality, of men referring to themselves as ‘inverts,’ and others talking about the passionate friendships between young men.
The quote above illustrates of some of the attitudes that others show towards Charles and Sebastian, in that there exists a level of tolerance for close intimacy between two male friends (probably greater tolerance than would be shown towards two young male friends today), as long as everyone understands that such friendships do not persist past adolescence.
In the text, Sebastian is portrayed as childlike (though not innocent), with his overblown enthusiasms and his whimsical affectations, like carrying a teddy bear upon whom he can project his own disavowed feelings. Charles appears the more mature, the steadier one of the two of them. But, as I arrive at the passages where Sebastian’s enthusiasm turns to despair, I wonder if it’s not so much a case of a little boy who doesn’t want to grow up, à la Peter Pan, but rather the incipient despair of a man who realizes that the love he has so freely enjoyed will soon be forbidden him. And what would make a man dread the coming of adulthood more than being told that adulthood means renunciation of bodily pleasures, rather than the enjoyment of such? I pity Sebastian, caught as he is between two impossible paths, and on top of all that, with the threat of sin hanging heavy on him.
No wonder he turns to drink, to the oblivion of the bottle! These are the paths that lead to madness, these somber renunciations of desires that are anything but infantile.
After several attempts I still haven’t made it past the first episode of 1981 Brideshead Revisited. The novel was easier though, if you’re looking for nice reading for the summer.
It is time for bed, but since gnossienne mentioned Brideshead, I thought I would do a quick rendition of Sebastian and Aloysius. Miles Malpractice to come tomorrow!
What is probably an Etonian Sebastian Flyte, with poppies.
Again with the Brideshead boys. I dunno, man.
While watching X-Men: First Class, I was heavily reminded of the recent film of Brideshead Revisited. I took some caps from both films and ran them through Photoshop. Maybe I’ll redo some of them.
University of Oxford…
A palatial home…
Getting cozy and sipping wine…
An idyllic moment on the steps…
An intimate game of chess…