The Vicar of Wakefield (Oxford World's Classics)

The Vicar of Wakefield (Oxford World's Classics)

Oliver Goldsmith

Language: English

Pages: 246

ISBN: 1533553289

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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.
New to this edition is an introduction by Robert L. Mack that examines the reasons for the novels enduring popularity, as well as the critical debates over whether it is a straightforward novel of sentiment or a satire on the social and economic inequalities of the period and the very literary conventions and morality it seems to embody. This edition also includes a new, up-to-date bibliography and expanded notes, and contains reprints of Arthur Friedman's authoritative Oxford English Novels text of the corrected first edition of 1766.

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The dews of heaven refin'd, Could nought of purity display, To emulate his mind. 'The dew, the blossom on the tree, With charms inconstant shine; Their charms were his, but woe to me, Their constancy was mine. 'For still I try'd each fickle art, Importunate and vain; And while his passion touch'd my heart, I triumph'd in his pain. 'Till quite dejected with my scorn, He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn, In secret where he died. 'But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,

The dews of heaven refin'd, Could nought of purity display, To emulate his mind. 'The dew, the blossom on the tree, With charms inconstant shine; Their charms were his, but woe to me, Their constancy was mine. 'For still I try'd each fickle art, Importunate and vain; And while his passion touch'd my heart, I triumph'd in his pain. 'Till quite dejected with my scorn, He left me to my pride; And sought a solitude forlorn, In secret where he died. 'But mine the sorrow, mine the fault,

find one man so happy as to have nothing left to wish for; but we daily see thousands who by suicide shew us they have nothing left to hope. In this life then it appears that we cannot be entirely blest; but yet we may be completely miserable! Why man should thus feel pain, why our wretchedness should be requisite in the formation of universal felicity, why, when all other systems are made perfect by the perfection of their subordinate parts, the great system should require for its perfection,

usual industry abroad, while my wife and daughters employed themselves in providing breakfast, which was always ready at a certain time. I allowed half an hour for this meal, and an hour for dinner; which time was taken up in innocent mirth between my wife and daughters, and in philosophical arguments between my son and me. As we rose with the sun, so we never pursued our labours after it was gone down, but returned home to the expecting family; where smiling looks, a treat hearth, and pleasant

proves most fatal At a small distance from the house my predecessor had made a seat, overshaded by an hedge of hawthorn and honeysuckle. Here, when the weather was fine, and our labour soon finished, we usually sate together, to enjoy an extensive landschape, in the calm of the evening. Here too we drank tea, which now was become an occasional banquet; and as we had it but seldom, it diffused a new joy, the preparations for it being made with no small share of bustle and ceremony. On these

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