This week, I’m excited to share with you all another new selection from the September catalog of The Folio Society. As many of you know, I’m a devoted fan of The Folio Society editions of classic literature, and the three I received so generously from the publisher have done nothing but encourage my adoration. This week, I want to highlight their new edition for one of my favorite books, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh.
I’m drawn in by the incredible cover art and the interior illustrations that The Folio Society are known for, and one thing I truly appreciate about their editions is the thought and design they put into their sturdy slipcovers. This particular design is one of the more stunning from any Folio Society I’ve seen, which is saying something!
I also think it is quite the match for the overall atmosphere of the novel, and it reminds me very much of the endearing Sebastian Flyte, one of my favorite literary characters. I fell in love with him the first time I read BRIDESHEAD, and this design, plus the interior artwork, lives up to the romance and magic of my first impressions.
Mr Waugh is very definitely an artist, with something like a genius for precision and clarity not surpassed by any novelist writing in English in his time.
Chosen as one of Time magazine’s 100 greatest novels of all time, this is Waugh’s most popular book, combining aching sympathy for the passing of privilege with the best of his razor-sharp wit.
Charles Ryder’s cousin warned him against taking rooms on the ground floor of his Oxford College, so when the young Lord Sebastian Flyte is sick through his window, it seems he should have heeded the advice. However, no one is immune to Sebastian’s inimitable charm and soon a relationship develops that will change Charles’s life forever.
The novel pinpoints a very precise moment in British social history and Waugh perfectly recreates the ambiance of the period; the aristocracy cling to their privilege and Ryder becomes increasingly vocal about his anti-religious sentiment. Despite the distractions of the beautifully crafted prose, the reader remains painfully aware of the imminent war, while Ryder and his contemporaries enjoy the bounties of privilege, blissfully ignorant of impending events.
This new edition from The Folio Society is illustrated with wood-engravings by award-winning artist Harry Brockway. His stylized scenes perfectly evoke Brideshead and its characters’ devil-may-care lives. Brockway also designed the striking binding art – a languid portrait for the front and subtle motifs of swirling cigarette smoke on the back.
In the newly commissioned introduction to this edition, award-winning novelist A. N. Wilson writes of the ache for an aesthetically purer past and how Brideshead represent the idea of a balanced, crafted and ‘above all, enjoyable’ novel.
About the Publisher: For 70 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world’s greatest books. It believes that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially researched images or newly commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.
Book copy and all images are courtesy of The Folio Society. Feel free to review the September Collection, it is brilliant! In case you missed them, take a look at my Folio Friday features for THE THOMAS HARDY COLLECTION and for Ursula K. Le Guin’s THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS.