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by William Makepeace Thackeray
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The racy memoirs of the Irish braggart and rogue who flourished, if that's the right word, in the late 1700s, are delightfully imagined by one of the great Victorian writers. Even more than Dickens, his contemporary, Thackeray can still beguile the modern reader, as is well testified in his first important novel. The recording begins with a tedious introduction that belabors the obvious and arrogantly tells us how to interpret what follows. John Cormack reads it dutifully before launching into an Irish accent and the main feature. He is sometimes very droll, but much of the irony of the narrative escapes him. Y.R. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
Not the best known, but by some critics acclaimed as the finest of Thackeray's works
Barry Lyndon - far from the best known, but by some critics acclaimed as the finest, of Thackeray's works - appeared originally as a serial a few years before VANITY FAIR was written; yet it was not published in book form, and then not by itself, until after the publication of VANITY FAIR, PENDENNIS, ESMOND and THE NEWCOMES had placed its author in the forefront of the literary men of the day. So many years after the event we cannot help wondering why the story was not earlier put in book form; for in its delineation of the character of an adventurer it is as great as VANITY FAIR, while for the local colour of history, if I may put it so, it is no undistinguished precursor of ESMOND.
The Merriam-Webster Encylopedia of Literature
(in full The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esquire) Historical novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, first published in Fraser's Magazine in 1844 as The Luck of Barry Lyndon: A Romance of the Last Century. The book was published in two volumes in 1852-53, and it was revised ("with admissions") as The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. in 1856. The novel concerns the life and times of the title character and narrator, a roguish Irishman. The fast-flowing satirical narrative reveals a man dedicated to success and good fortune. Born Redmond Barry, he leaves his homeland after shooting a man in a duel. He becomes a soldier of fortune and later works as a professional gambler. Remade as a man of fashion, he courts a wealthy widow, marries her, and assumes her aristocratic name of Lyndon. He mistreats both her and her son and spends and gambles away her money, but eventually she extricates herself from the alliance. By the novel's end he is in jail, cared for by his mother.
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