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

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