One of the finest devices of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is the flashback from present war to past Arcadia.  When Captain Ryder finds himself billeted to Brideshead, his past rises before him like a morning mist.  Names, of people or places, can evoke powerful and involuntary reactions in us with almost the same unfiltered immediacy as music and perfume.

‘… for he had spoken a name that was so familiar to me, a conjuror’s name of such ancient power, that, at its mere sound, the phantoms of those haunted late years began to take flight.’

Source: Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968 (1945)), p. 21

Photo credit: Annie Spratt at


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest