Saturday, March 17, 2012

37. The Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield
Oliver Goldsmith
Published in 1766
Around 260 pages
Well, that was a very unique kind of boring.  The whole novel consists of good people doing good things and making other people become good and do good things.  As you can imagine, this became frightfully boring after...oh, let's say the tenth page.

The story centers on Dr. Primrose and his loving family.  A series of misfortunes occur which include fires, ruffians, misunderstandings, prison, poverty, and unfulfilled love.  The characters maintain their goodness throughout.  There was one evil guy but for the purpose, of being spoiler free, I will not comment on him.  Anyway, the characters possessed the kind of preachy virtues that are just plain annoying.  For instance, Dr. Primrose is sent to prison so he spends all his time lecturing the prisoners with sermons.  Of course, the prisoners are attentive after awhile and become pious.  Seriously?

Characters that have no faults are not only terribly dry but also awfully unrealistic.  Skip it.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Goldsmith was a good friend of Samuel Johnson's and sent him a message in great distress.  Johnson came quickly and found out that Goldsmith was being kicked out of his apartment for not paying rent.  Johnson took Goldsmith's unpublished novel, The Vicar of Wakefield, and sold it to a publisher then used the sixty pounds to pay his friend's rent.

Referenced in Frankenstein, Emma, David Copperfield, The Tale of Two Cities, Little Women, and Middlemarch.  Woah.

Believe me, you do not want to see the videos on YouTube for this unless you want to venture into the realms of the weird.

1 comment:

  1. I think you are wrong. Dr. Primorose has plenty of faults and they are demonstrated very clearly by Goldsmith. The vicar is completely naive, he has no idea what is going on, he is messing with explosice things with no idea of the implications and risk his family for silly principles. Faultless? no way.