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Reader! Reader!

Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

The Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield: A Tale Supposed to Be Written by Himself - Oliver Goldsmith

Aye yi yi. I did not enjoy this book at all, and I would have abandoned it if it were not on the 1001 books list. Also, it is under 200 pages--and a total slog. It took me 2 weeks to read.

 

The vicar (or really, former vicar), Dr Primrose, is supposed to be comic. I found him to be an ass. He's mean to his daughters, and mostly i felt very badly for his wife, who had to do her best to feed the family and keep everyone hopeful while her husband was doing his best to do the opposite.

 

Goldsmith does not fully explain just how or why the vicar lost his post in the first place--my edition had great endnotes that explained scholars' thoughts on the matter. Basically, though, this means that the key to the plot is missing from the book. That's not good writing, that's disaster. Also, the endnotes also linked many of the "discourse" type chapters to Goldsmith's other writings. He included many similar phrases and sentences in several of his fiction and essays. He also included unattributed bits of others' works (though perhaps this was not unusual at the time? I have no idea).

 

So, I found this book to be missing it's main plot point, to have an awful main character, and to have cribbed bits from many other works. Yuck!

 

But, one more check on the 1001 books list. Why it is there is another issue...