Brideshead Revisited

I was given a copy of this book by a former pupil, now in his second year at Oxford. I finally got round to it, and must say I enjoyed the read. It is essentially retelling the comings and goings of the aristocratic Marchmain family during the interwar period. It is full of nostalgia for this lost world, seen through the eyes of Charles Ryder. 
 
It is well written, and contains some rather poignant and delightful expressions:
 
'Whatever harsh voices might be bawling into the microphones of central Europe, and whatever lathes spinning in the armament factories, the return of Lord Marchmain was a matter of first importance in his own neighbourhood'.
 
There are no happy marriages in the novel; the levels of adultery and homoeroticism must have been quite daring for something published in the mid-nineteen-forties. Ryder is the essence of modern man: thoroughly agnostic, sexually elusive and rather sneering of others' religion. Waugh must have been a prophet. An interesting passage early on, during which Ryder recounts his school days, sheds light on both his attitudes and those in modern Britain which he mirrors:
 
'The masters who taught me Divinity told me that biblical texts were highly untrustworthy. They never suggested I should try to pray'.
 
Indeed. The doubting of scripture that began in nineteenth-century Germany and spread like a contagion outwards, has been one of the most powerful cultural forces to have wounded our civilisation. Doubt the Bible and you'll doubt its Author. With God silenced and relegated, immorality and hedonism will flourish unchecked.