I’ve enjoyed Brideshead Revisited as novel and film, multiple times. Lately the Penguin version has been reposing in the bathroom, recovering from the latest bout of reading, and recently it was joined by another Penguin edition, The Best of Betjeman, which I picked up as a give-away in a roadside restaurant. I was planning to blog a so-English verse I just happened to read last night:
And Nurse came in with the tea-things
Breast-high ‘mid the stands and chairs–
But Nurse was alone with her own little soul,
And the things were alone with theirs.
(from “Death in Leamington”, pg. 15)
…and I thought I should inform myself about the details of Betjeman’s life. I knew he’d been Poet Laureate, but I didn’t know that Waugh had modeled Sebastian Flyte’s bear Aloysius after Betjeman’s Archibald Ormsby-Gore, or that C.S. Lewis had been Betjeman’s (much-despised) tutor. Don’t miss the 1959 BBC interview (1:45, on life at Oxford, hearties and aesthetes, being sent down). And The Times offers a picture of Archie and Jumbo, and more delicious details.