Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray

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Synopsis

Set in the second half of the eighteenth century, Barry Lyndon is the fictional autobiography of an adventurer and rogue whom the reader is led to distrust from the very beginning. Born into the petty Irish gentry, and outmanoeuvred in his first love-affair, a ruined Barry joins the British army. After service in Germany he deserts and, after a brief spell as a spy, pursues the career of a gambler in the dissolute clubs and courts of Europe. In a determined effort to
enter fashionable society he marries a titled heiress but finds he has met his match.
First published in 1844, Barry Lyndon is Thackeray's earliest substantial novel and in some ways his most original, reflecting his views of the true art of fiction: to represent a subject, however unpleasant, with accuracy and wit, and not to moralize.
The text is that of George Sainsbury's 1908 Oxford edition which restores passages cut when the novel was revised in 1856.

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About William Makepeace Thackeray

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William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta, India, where his father was in service to the East India Company. After the death of his father in 1816, he was sent to England to attend school. Upon reaching college age, Thackeray attended Trinity College, Cambridge, but he left before completing his degree. Instead, he devoted his time to traveling and journalism. Generally considered the most effective satirist and humorist of the mid-nineteenth century, Thackeray moved from humorous journalism to successful fiction with a facility that was partially the result of a genial fictional persona and a graceful, relaxed style. At his best, he held up a mirror to Victorian manners and morals, gently satirizing, with a tone of sophisticated acceptance, the inevitable failure of the individual and of society. He took up the popular fictional situation of the young person of talent who must make his way in the world and dramatized it with satiric directness in The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1844), with the highest fictional skill and appreciation of complexities inherent within the satiric vision in his masterpiece, Vanity Fair (1847), and with a great subtlety of point of view and background in his one historical novel, Henry Esmond (1852). Vanity Fair, a complex interweaving in a vast historical panorama of a large number of characters, derives its title from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and attempts to invert for satirical purposes, the traditional Christian image of the City of God. Vanity Fair, the corrupt City of Man, remains Thackeray's most appreciated and widely read novel. It contrasts the lives of two boarding-school friends, Becky Sharp and Amelia Smedley. Constantly attuned to the demands of incidental journalism and his sense of professionalism in his relationship with his public, Thackeray wrote entertaining sketches and children's stories and published his humorous lectures on eighteenth-century life and literature. His own fiction shows the influence of his dedication to such eighteenth-century models as Henry Fielding, particularly in his satire, which accepts human nature rather than condemns it and takes quite seriously the applicability of the true English gentleman as a model for moral behavior. Thackeray requested that no authorized biography of him should ever be written, but members of his family did write about him, and these accounts were subsequently published.
 
Published July 1, 2004 by Digireads.com. 294 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Travel, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Barry Lyndon

Publishers Weekly

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Thackeray’s classic tale of Barry Lyndon, who escapes his life on the Emerald Isle to pursue a more luxurious existence in England, is reimagined in this audio edition, narrated by Jonathan Keeble.

Feb 25 2013 | Read Full Review of Barry Lyndon

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