Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Vicar of Wakefield

I read Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield for my online bookclub. A few years back I saw a BBC version of his She Stoops to Conquer and I really found that engaging. This novel didn't measure up to the play.

I found the beginning charming, but as I moved through it, I saw some weaknesses. This is the story of a hapless country vicar and his family. A lot of their misfortunes in the first part of the book are quite funny. However, so much plot, such as the son's adventures, were related through exposition, a weaker means than through a switch to the son's direct point of view, which is a more modern way of narratingm, but also more interesting. Either just leave the events to what readers directly learn or

I wished the characters had more depth. The family members are rather stereotypical and by the end of the story I didn't feel I really knew them. In the end, I'd say it's a second tier classic. It is humorous, especially Vicar Primrose's cluelessness as to how interesting and important his sermons and writing are. He was like the sort of stodgy minister one finds in say Pride and Prejudice. It can be a fun character.

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