The Vicar of Wakefield   -     By: Oliver Goldsmith
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The Vicar of Wakefield

Penguin Classics / 1982 / Paperback

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Product Description

The story opens in the country parsonage of Dr. Primrose, a kindly man who has a good heart, a good family and a good income. Suddenly, his idyllic life is cruelly devastated by a series of misfortunes, and he ends up in gaol. Yet, despite all this calamity and injustice, the vicar never loses sight of Christian morality, and while this conviction lends him a genuine nobility, in the end it also brings justice and the restoration of his family and fortune.

Through this simple, almost fairy-tale plot, Goldsmith gives us a charming comedy; not a novel of sentiment, but an artful send-up of many of the familiar literary conventions of his day: the pastoral scene, the artificial romance, the unquestioning stoic bravery of the hero - all culminating, of course, in a gloriously improbable denouement. 213 pages; 31 chapters.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1982
Dimensions: 8.12 X 5.12 (inches)
ISBN: 0140431594
ISBN-13: 9780140431599

Publisher's Description

"The greatest object in the universe, says a certain philosopher, is a good man struggling with adversity."

When Dr Primrose loses his fortune in a disastrous investment, his idyllic life in the country is shattered and he is forced to move with his wife and six children to an impoverished living on the estate of Squire Thornhill. Taking to the road in pursuit of his daughter, who has been seduced by the rakish Squire, the beleaguered Primrose becomes embroiled in a series of misadventures–encountering his long-lost son in a travelling theatre company and even spending time in a debtor’s prison. Yet Primrose, though hampered by his unworldliness and pride, is sustained by his unwavering religious faith. In The Vicar of Wakefield, Goldsmith gently mocks many of the literary conventions of his day–from pastoral and romance to the picaresque – infusing his story of a hapless clergyman with warm humour and amiable social satire.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Author Bio

Oliver Goldsmith (1728 - 1774) was born in Ireland. Having studied at Trinity College, Dublin, he studied medicine at Edinburgh and Leyden after being rejected by the Church of Ireland. Settling in London, he was writing professionally by 1757 and became a friend of Johnson. Best known for She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield is his only novel and is generally considered his finest work.

Stephen Coote was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge and Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of critical studies of Chaucer, T.S. Eliot and English literature of the Middle Ages, as well as biographies of Byron and William Morris.

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