Friday, June 15, 2007

The Vicar of Wakefield

"The Vicar of Wakefield" by Oliver Goldsmith

Straight from Wikipedia:
The Vicar of Wakefield is a novel by the Irish author Oliver Goldsmith. It was written in 1761 and 1762, and published in 1766. It is briefly mentioned in George Eliot's Middlemarch, Jane Austen's Emma, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Charlotte Brontë's The Professor, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther as well as his Dichtung und Wahrheit. It is also mentioned in Dan Simmons's The Terror as a book brought along on the ill-fated Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin, which the book takes as its source. (In actual fact a copy was found near some skeletons of the last surviving members of the expedition.)

This book was considered a "sentimental novel" and seems to have been popular. Life for the Reverened takes a turn for the worse. And things continue to get steadily worse and worse as time goes on. But the Reverend Primrose is an optimistic man who believes in the goodness of others and refuses to let his troubles dampen his spirit. It's a simple little book that tries to send the message that life is good.


Chris said...

I've heard of it but never read it.

Btw, what is your Lists of the Bests?

Yorick said...

Oh I read it and I enjoyed it. I understand it's not brutal realism, and in many ways, for many people who actually lived in those hard years (the science/state of medicine was worse than doing nothing in many cases). Still, I enjoyed spending time with a man who means well to his family and his fellow humans.

And it was funny--a Cary Grant screwball comedy (with a moral, oops) for the 18th Century.