Study Guide

Brideshead Revisited Allusions

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Literature and Philosophy

William Shakespeare, Henry IV ("Henry’s speech on St. Crispin’s day") (prologue.31)
Edward Marsh (editor), Georgian Poetry (1.1.27)
Compton Mackenzie, Sinister Street (1.1.27)
Norman Douglas, South Wind (1.1.27)
Gilbert and Sullivan (1.1.2)
Alfred Edward Housman, A Shropshire Lad: Eminent Victorians (1.1.27)
T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland (1.1.62-5)
Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Princess (1.1.66)
Pindar, Orphism (1.2.1, 1.2.21)
Marcel Proust (1.2.25)
André Gide (1.2.25)
Jean Cocteau (1.2.25)
Ronald Firbank (1.2.25)
Antic Hay, by Aldous Huxley (1.2.29)
Maurice Maeterlinck, a Belgian symbolist playwright (1.2.45)
Bernard Shaw, Plays Unpleasant (1.2.56)
David Garnett, Lady into Fox (1.2.58)
George Byron (1.4.221)
Trilby, by George du Maurier (1.5.21)
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1.5.194)
Marcel Proust, À la recherche du temps perdu (The character referenced is Baron Palamède de Charlus, a gay man not open about his sexuality.) (1.5.194)
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland (1.5.204)
G.K. Chesteron, The Wisdom of Father Brown (1.5.270)
George Grossmith, The Diary of a Nobody (1.6.70, 1.6.198)
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan ("Tinkerbell" is the name of the horse Sebastian takes on the hunt) (1.6.67)
Robert Browning, an English poet (1.8.209)
William Shakespeare, King Lear (2.1.226)
John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi (2.1.226)
Anton Chekhov (2.1.340)
Jane Austen (2.2.62)
Mary Russell Mitford, an English novelist (2.2.62)
Arthur Rimbaud, a French poet (2.2.63)
William Shakespeare, Macbeth (2.3.55)

Mythological References

Xanthus, the river near Troy (prologue.31)
King Arthur (prologue.31)
Demosthenes (1.1.25)
Narcissus (1.2.38)
Penelope (Odysseus’s wife in Greek Mythology) (1.7.16)
Aladdin (2.5.50, 175)

Art References

William Morris (1.1.27)
The Earl of Arundel, the first great British art collector, during the early 17th century (1.1.27)
Van Gogh, Sunflowers (1.1.27)
Roger Fry, an art critic (1.1.27, 1.4.21)
Edward McKnight Kauffer, an American designer while Charles was at Oxford
Roger Fry’s Vision and Design (1.1.27)
Cezanne (1.1.29)
Sir Edwin Landseer (1.1.29)
Clive Bell’s Art (1.1.29)
William Hogarth, a 16th Century British painter ("Hogarthian page boy") (1.2.25)
Sergei Diaghilev (1.2.25)
Constantin Brancusi, pioneered modern abstract sculpture (1.2.33)
Jean Ingres, a French painter (1.2.40)
Sir John Everett Millais, "Bubbles" (1.2.47)
Inigo Jones, an English architect (1.4.5, 1.4.9)
Sir John Soane, an English architect (1.4.13)
Thomas Chippendale, a very famous furniture designer (1.4.13)
Giovanni Piranesi, an Italian architect (1.4.15)
John Ruskin, an art critic (1.4.21)
Jacopo Robusti, a.k.a. "Tintoretto," a Venetian painter. (1.4.178)
Augustus John, a painter of portraits. (1.5.36)
Piabia Francis Picabia, an artist of the French avant-garde (1.6.32)
Eugène Delacroix, a French Romanticist painter (1.6.32)
La Gioconda, another title for the Mona Lisa (2.1.131)
Paul Gauguin, a post-impressionist painter (2.2.63)
Titian, a painter of the Italian Renaissance (2.5.108)
Raphael, a painter/architect of the Italian Renaissance (2.5.108)


Isis magazine, the student mag at Oxford (1.1.2, 1.5.9)
Polly Peachum, a leading opera lady (1.1.27)
Honoré Daumier, a French caricaturist (1.1.54)
George du Maurier, "Mrs. Ponsonby de Tomkyns" – a fictional cartoon character (1.2.37)
Punch – a weekly satirical magazine in England (no longer in publication) (1.2.37)
Madame Récamier (1777-1849), an early 19th century French socialite (1.2.45)
Lionel Tennyson, a cricket player and grandson to the great poet (1.4.44)
The Times of London (1.4.44, 1.6.201, 1.7.154, 1.8.196, 2.5.104)
News of the World – A British tabloid (1.4.58)
"Max" refers to William Maxwell Aitken, an influential man in politics and society. (1.5.36)
"F.E." refers to F.E. Smith, the Earl of Birkenhead and a statesman (1.5.36)
"Gertie" Lawrence refers to Gertrude Lawrence, an actor/singer (1.5.36)
Georges Carpentier, a French boxer (1.5.36)
The Star, a former London newspaper (1.5.158)
Vogue (1.6.32)
Continental Daily Mail, a conservative London newspaper (1.6.300)
The Morning Post (1.7.154)
The Blackbirds of 1926, a jazz revue (1.8.10)
Warning Shadows, a German silent movie from 1923 (1.8.25)
Florence Mills, a singer from the jazz age (1.8.28, 37)
The Tatler (2.1.97)
Captain Foulenough, a fictional character from By the Way, a long-running series in the Daily Express of London (2.1.205-211)
Popeye (2.1.211)
Wallis Warfield Simpson (2.2.35)
The Tatler (2.2.43)

Military and Political History

Adolf Hitler (prologue.5)
Prince Rupert of the Rhine (prologue.31)
"The Epitaph at Thermopylae" – this epitaph reads: "Stranger, announce to the Spartans that we here lie dead, obedient to their words." (prologue.31)
Bartolomeo Colleoni, general of the Venetian state in the 15th century. (1.4.221)
The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII (1.5.36)
Mustapha Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey (1.6.5)
Miklós Horthy, the Regent of Hungary during World War II (1.8.9)
Abdul Krim, a political revolutionary in Morocco in the 1920s (1.8.83)


John Henry Cardinal Newman (1.1.2)
St. Nichodemus of Thyatira (1.2.16)
Sodom and Gomorrah – two sinful cities destroyed by God (1.2.45)
Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessions – Sebastian quotes this modified line: "God, make me good – but not yet" (1.4.56)
St. Anthony of Padua (1.4.68)
Saint Francis Xavier, a 16th Century missionary (Cordelia’s pig takes this name) (1.4.96)
Jacques Maritain, a Catholic philosopher. (1.5.194)
The Madonna (1.5.201)
St. Joseph (1.5.201)
Father Brown, "The Queer Feet" – The quotation which refers to a "twitch upon the thread" comes from this story. (1.8.194)
Gethsemane (2.5.52)
"Quomodo sedet sola civitas" (1.8.192, 2.1.101, epilogue.55)
"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," from the Book of Ecclesiastes (epilogue.55)

Historical Figures

Sigmund Freud (1.1.33)Galileo Galilei (1.8.209)

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