Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited: The Novel and the Television Adaptation

Peter Medine
Wednesday 2 PM - 4 PM AZ Time
May 29, June 5, 12, 20, 26, and July 3, 2024
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Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited: The Novel and the Television Adaptation

Summer 2024
In Session
2 PM - 4 PM AZ Time
May 29, June 5, 12, 20, 26, and July 3, 2024

Course Format: 



Main Campus



This seminar will compare Evelyn Waugh's 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited and its cinematic adaptation in the 1981 BBC television series with the same title. Both works recount some twenty years in the life of the gifted, central character and narrator Charles Ryder. The narrative moves from his years at Oxford to his romantic relationships first with the aristocratic Sebastian Flyte and then with Sebastian's beautiful sister Julia. It concludes with his maturation as an artist and finally his wrenching breakup with Julia. The seminar will begin with an analysis of the novel, attending particularly to Waugh's combination of a coming-of-age narrative, a romantic love story, and a country-house narrative. Discussion of the film will center on select scenes highlighted in the previous analysis of the novel. Focus will fall on the ways that distinctive cinematic features—such as casting, camera work, the mise en scene, and music—deepen and enrich the narrative's preoccupations with love and coming of age during a period of profound cultural, economic, and political change. Analyzed in this context, the film can be seen as a penetrating interpretation of the novel, one that enriches its prose narrative. It is not an alteration of the literal substance; the film brings to the surface significances already embedded in the text of the novel. Reading the novel and its cinematic adaptation comparatively from these perspectives reveals Waugh as an inspired craftsman and a lyrical writer of feeling and insight. It's little wonder that the novel and its adaptation have enjoyed popular as well as academic acclaim for nearly a half-century or that at the present time negotiations are afoot to produce yet another film adaptation.

Please Note: The originally advertised course schedule has been updated. The fourth class session will be held on Thursday, June 20, allowing us to observe Juneteenth (June 19) as a holiday. 

Meet Your Professor

Professor Emeritus
Department of English

PETER E. MEDINE is Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona, where he served in the English Department from 1969 to 2014. He has written, edited, or coedited seven books in Early Modern English studies. His most recent coedited book is Visionary Milton: Essays in Prophecy and Violence (2010). He is the recipient of several Humanities Seminars Superior Teaching Awards and the College of Humanities Award for Outreach Service.  

  • Ted and Shirley Taubeneck Superior Teaching Award


  • All classes will be delivered on-campus and online via live video streaming. Students will enroll in their preferred format during registration.
  • On-Campus classes will be held in the Rubel Room at the University of Arizona's Poetry Center (1508 E Helen St, Tucson, AZ 85721). Enrollment for in-person classes is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. All students enrolled to attend in person also have complete online access and may choose to attend one or all class sessions remotely if desired.
  • Online students may attend all classes via live video streaming and will be able to participate in all course Q&A sessions with the professor in real-time. A high-speed internet connection and a device capable of running Zoom are required to connect. Online access will be password protected and only available to enrolled students.
  • Class Recordings - All HSP classes are recorded and available for every enrolled student to watch for the duration of the course and one month after the last class session. This option is offered to aid students who cannot attend the live class times but desire to enroll and participate asynchronously. We hope this option also aids students who are traveling or have a necessary appointment that conflicts with a class session to stay connected and engaged with the course material.


Poetry Center
Dorothy Rubel Room
1508 E Helen
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
Located on the SE corner of Helen Street and Vine Avenue, one block north of Speedway and three blocks west of Campbell Ave.

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