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Et in Arcadia Ego: A Class and Gender Analysis of 'Brideshead Revisited' and 'The Secret History'


  • Hanne Bovide Lindén

Summary, in English

Even though Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History were written almost fifty years apart, they share many similarities. They are both forms of academic novels and they both depict the University and College as places excluded from the surrounding world where the characters can act out their desires in their adolescent years before they enter adulthood. In both novels, the protagonists come from lower or middle class backgrounds and are invited into the upper class. They both become infatuated and fall in love with the people in that world and the world itself. By comparing these two novels and analysing them using a class and gender perspective, this essay studies how factors like the academic world, class, gender and sexuality affect the protagonists in their admiration for the surrounding characters, but also how these factors affect each other. This essay argues that during the time the characters are within the closed environment of the school they defy norms of gender and sexuality but as they step out of that environment they begin to act according to the social structures of the rest of society.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • The Secret History
  • Brideshead Revisited
  • Evelyn Waugh
  • Donna Tartt
  • Sexuality
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Homosexuality
  • Academic Novel


  • Birgitta Berglund (FD)