Brideshead Revisited is the story of a young man’s aesthetic education as he discovers a world of architectural beauty and struggles to build a life as an artist. Nearly all the novel’s main relationships revolve around aesthetics, from love affairs based on beauty to friendships based on friendships built solely around artistic instruction. One idea explored in the novel is the threat of charm to artistic sensibilities. British charm in particular, claims one aesthete, is deadly, as it will strangle artistic passion by keeping it all neat and orderly.
In Brideshead Revisited, Charles finds God through art.
Through his novel, Waugh condemns Charles’s attempt to replace God with art.