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The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon is a fascinating book. It might be set in the 1700s, but it is in many ways a very contemporary novel, describing ruthlessness, selfishness, contracting of debts and grasping for money, marriage abuse, and the deterioration of a character who could have been a fine man. Its plot and characters have great immediacy, and Thackeray’s keen understanding of human nature is there on every page.
The novel is a notable contribution to ‘rogue literature’. Thackeray’s much-admired Henry Fielding had written The Life and Death of Jonathan Wild, the Great, a satirical story of an underworld rogue who prospers. Like Fielding, Thackeray wanted to expose a society where such immoral men could prosper.
Barry’s adventures are extraordinary – I hope you join him for the ride.
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Featured image- William Makepeace Thackeray, Barry Lyndon. Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon (1975), https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072684/
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