I have noticed that Brideshead Revisited seems to strike many English readers - I don't know if Mary sees it that way or not - as some sort of elegiac paean to the British class system. It didn't strike me at all that way when I first read it in college - and I was a working-class kid. It was on the list of books for a course in the modern novel I was taking. I had laughed my head off reading Decline and Fall, so I figured I'd start by guffawing my way through another Waugh novel. Only the laughs never came. I soon realized that I was reading maybe the saddest book I had ever opened. I think this is an example of how one can learn something inportant about the literature of one's own country from the reactions readers in another country have to it. As I understand it, the Russians don't quite understand why non-Russians like Turgenev so much. And I think at least some English readers need to put aside their social resentments and discover what Brideshead is really about.