Some days ago I was asked to talk about the representation of the Catholic faith in some English novels in the XX century. I was reading then The Good Soldier of Ford Madox Ford, so, naturally, the figure of Leonora Ashburham was the first to come to mind. Yet, is Leonora a “typical” representation of the Catholic? Is there a common way of representing “the Catholic” in the first half of the XX century? As I had never read trying to identify those patterns of representation, assuming they exist, I did not have an answer, and I still don’t. Nevertheless I think that convert writers such as Graham Green, Evelyn Waugh, Chesterton, Muriel Spark and Ford place faith as a very distinctive quality of their Catholic characters, despite the significant differences found in their works. Continue reading
The first time those words appear in Brideshead Revisited they are used by Cordelia in a conversation with Charles. She quotes the beginning of the book of Jeremiah in order to express her thoughts after the chapel in Brideshead was left empty. The phrase quomodo sedet sola civitas -how lonely the city stands- is taken from the beginning of book of Lamentations, when the prophet cries over the destroyed Jerusalem; they are also used by the Liturgy of the Church in the office of Tenebrae to lament over the death of Christ. Continue reading
I’m supposed to be writing about Brideshead Revisited, I know. In fact, my intention was to sing Cordelia’s praises, however, I’m forced make a detour that hopefully will leave me in a better position to do it as she deserves. So I’ll leave Cordelia aside and write about prophets, hoping the connection will be clearer in the coming posts.
I don’t know if you have ever seen a prophet and I mean a real one, like Elijah or Mason Tarwater (not the Mason Tarwater you find in Facebook, but the one of The Violent Bear it Away). A man with proper prophetic voice, frenzied eyes, and all the necessary apparel. Well…, if you ever come to Jerusalem you might find some: the Holy City has still some power left.
Some days ago I found my copy of “The Lord” by Romano Guardini. I had left the book without finishing it two years ago. I opened it with the firm resolution to finish the job, and was gladly surprised to find my bookmark still there. My fancy bookmarks consist of a blank sheet of paper were I usually take notes of interesting ideas or “happy phrases” with the hope of copying them to my database when I finish the book. That, of course, almost never happens.
In the third entry of my paper it was written:
“82, 1: Brideshead. Sebastian’s mother. Nobody can hate God, that’s why they hate her” Continue reading
Next entries will be devoted to some aspects of Brideshead Revisited. There are of course many resources on the web -quotes, summaries, essays, etc-, so I’ll try to touch some topics which are not so “popular”. I also hope next entries will no as long as this one.
I’ll start with Aloysius. I must admit this is not a random choice. I’m partial about this bear. I like him so much that I was even thinking of opening a Facebook account just to be able to join some group of Aloysius fans… After some interior struggle, I resisted the temptation and can proudly declare that I remain facebookless for the time being. Continue reading