Oliver Goldsmith’s hugely successful novel of 1766 remained for generations one of the most highly regarded and beloved works of eighteenth-century fiction. It depicts the fall and rise of the Primrose family, presided over by the benevolent vicar, the narrator of a fairy-tale plot of impersonation and deception, the abduction of a beautiful heroine and the machinations of an aristocratic villain. By turns comic and sentimental, the novel’s popularity owes much to its recognizable depiction of domestic life and loving family relationships.
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book so much. I would recommend it to anyone. It was originally composed in 1762 and published in 1766 so there is considerable consideration as to the who will feel at ease in gaining rhythm and understanding and subsequent enjoyment of the writing style.
From the storyline that unfolded to bring a dynamic perspective to courtship, family, and life principles to the writing that was rich with words and concepts, it was such an incredibly refreshing read. The premise and its delivery brought deeper meaning to grief and pain, moral contributions, and, joy and sentiment to a whole other level that recalibrated my expectations as to what I love in a good book. There is debate whether it is a more satyrical novel, to which I would say I agree to much in the elements of it and it made it all the more wholesome.
MY FAVORITE LINES:
“We are not to judge the feelings of others by what we might feel in their place.”
“The pain which conscience gives the man who has already done wrong is soon got over. Conscience is a coward; and those faults it has not strength enough to prevent, it seldom has justice enough to accuse.”
“Both wit and understanding are trifles, without integrity; it is that which gives value to every character. The ignorant peasant without fault is greater than the philosopher with many; for what is genius or courage without an heart?”
“Man little knows what calamities are beyond his patience to bear, till he tries them: as in ascending the heights of ambition, which look bright from below, every step we rise shows us some new and gloomy prospects of hidden disappointment: so in our descent from the summits of pleasure, though the vale of misery below may appear at first dark and gloomy, yet the busy mind, still attentive to its own amusement, finds, as we descend, something to flatter and to please. Still as we approach, the darkest objects appear to brighten, and the mental eye becomes adapted to its gloomy situation.”
“Now, therefore, I began to associate with none but disappointed authors like myself, who praised, deplored, and despised each other. The satisfaction we found in every celebrated writer’s attempts was inversely as their merits. My unfortunate paradoxes had entirely dried up that source of comfort. I could neither read nor write with satisfaction; for excellence in another was my aversion, and writing was my trade.”
“Offences are easily pardoned where there is love at the bottom.”