The Luck of Barry Lyndon

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Thackeray, an only child, was born in Calcutta, India, where his father, Richmond Thackeray 1 September 1781 13 September 1815 , held the high rank of secretary to the board of revenue in the British East India Company His mother, Anne Becher 1792 1864 was the second daughter of Harriet and John Harman Becher and was also a secretary writer for the East India Company.William had been sent

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  • Kindle Edition
  • 294 pages
  • The Luck of Barry Lyndon
  • William Makepeace Thackeray
  • English
  • 15 June 2017

10 thoughts on “The Luck of Barry Lyndon

  1. says:

    Had someone asked me last week to name them a film better than the book, off the top of my head I couldn t give a definitive answer If the same question popped up today, my immediate response would be, Stanley Kubrick s Barry Lyndon A film I adore so much it even had me playing the Film s beautiful music softy in the background whilst reading Thackeray s novel, hoping it would start to dazzle the book It didn t That s not to say there wasn t much to enjoy about the Irish rogue s escapades around 18th Century Europe, but it just never reached the heights I thought it would Thackeray spent ten gruelling years as a journalist covering burlesques, travel articles, short stories, as well as being a critic on books and pictures His early promise came in the fashion of serial publications Barry Lyndon 1844 , opened up his golden decadence of the successful novel.Written as an 18th century pastiche, the work draws a portrait of a dashing schemer who is a liar, a boaster, a self flatterer, and womanizer, in other words, an arrogant toerag He plans to enter Europe s social elite with the hope of gaining access to huge wealth through the love of a woman In this case, her Ladyship, the Countess Honoria of Lyndon A melancholy sort, who also has a son, Lord Bullingdon It all starts off for Redmond Barry in Ireland, he narrates through his adventures, first falling foul of Captain Quin because of Nora Brady who Barry happens to love There is a duel, which he wins, but has to flee for his own good He ends up joining the Army, and after deserting at the time of the seven years war, manages to establish himself as a man of fashion, worth and snobbery, and also a professional gambler, touring the courts and spas of Europe with The Chevalier du Balibari, who happens to be his uncle This would eventually lead him into the arms of Countess Lyndon, safe to say she is filthy rich and highly important Redmond takes the title of Barry Lyndon after marriage.He finds the code of respectability a protective shield under which he can violate with impunity every social decency, but this can only last so long, before virtue finally outwits him Thackeray s sense of irony restrains his novel drifting into sentimental excess, and mixes scoundrels with the elite to good effect Barry, like most of Thackeray s characters succumbs to the code of respectability In rejecting all the stereotypes of heroism through which the novelist evaded his responsibility to give what he called the sentiment of reality , he explores married life deconstructing the convention of the literature of his times, that is, the obligatory plot in which marriage is very emphatically enshrined as the happy ending As an ironic inversion of the romantic nonsense of his time, the astringent view of marriage signals the real origins of Thackeray s novels.There is no virtue in Barry Lyndon, but he is allowed some capacity for what we may call genuiness when he feels the pains of nostalgia, affections, paternal love, and the hostility of war The film contained a most heart breaking scene involving Barry s young son, the emotions of moments like this just never felt as true in the book Although when there is sorrow, it isn t pretended, Barry recounts the death of his son, making him appear less simple than first thought The result of such oscillation between sympathy and impartiality, sentiment and cynicism, is that he dramatises the business of judging the characters while not encouraging the reader in their black and white views on morals Maybe one of the reasons why he was undervalued by posterity in relation to Charles Dickens, his chief Victorian rival.The problem I had was Kubrick s film streaming constantly through my mind And the book does differ from the film in places, upsetting my rhythm It s a decent novel on rogues and aristocracy, a bit boring at times, but captures the setting and time solid enough Still prefer the film though, by some considerable distance.

  2. says:

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  3. says:

    What a cad Barry is A line from the book sums up this blackguard he is the one St.Patrick missed.

  4. says:

    Turns out Becky Sharp makes a pretty awful dude.The adventurer is a stock villain in Victorian literature With no money but plenty of charm, he or she tries to marry into comfort, sometimes with the help of one dastardly plot or another Sir Felix Carbury of Trollope s The Way We Live Now is a good one, and Lady Audley Daniel Defoe s Roxana is an early example Dare, and the world always yields or, if it beat you sometimes, dare again, and it will succumb And Thackeray loves them He ll get deep into it with his masterpiece Vanity Fair in 1848, where he subverts some of its tropes and hammers on others in Barry Lyndon, which feels like a practice round, he just exemplifies it Lyndon is the cad of all cads, an unrepentant villain, the archetypical adventurer and one of the nastiest protagonists you re likely to run across He has not a single redeeming feature He s vain, shallow, drunk, murderous He brags that For the first three years I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor He s a totally unreliable narrator so much so that a fictional editor feels the need to break into the story to say He s totally lying here, what an asshole Thackeray betrays Becky Sharp, but he treats Barry Lyndon fairly You know what s coming because he tells you, several times, that his story won t end well and he than earns it In some ways this is a satisfying story than Vanity Fair, then We also escape the Amelia Dobbins parallel story that no one cares about in Vanity Fair the focus here is always Barry.There s a little something missing here An immediacy You rarely feel like you re there for a scene it s like you re listening to an old guy reminisce about things that happened years ago which, according to the framing story, is exactly the case Rather than dialogue, you get summaries of conversations It removes a bit from the action I found it hard to engage I don t remember Vanity Fair being like that Maybe that s why it s like 900 pages long And it s not as complicated as Vanity Fair is, surely I said it felt like practice it s tighter and cleaner than Vanity Fair, but not as great. For all his charms, and he has none, Barry Lyndon is no Becky Sharp.

  5. says:

    Yet Another Novel Without a HeroWilliam Makepeace Thackeray, who in his own time was vying for the peak of popularity among Victorian readers with the Inimitable Dickens himself, would by now be completely eclipsed in modern bookshops as it happened to Bulwer Lytton, for instance , were it not for his still well known novel Vanity Fair 1848 , which proclaimed itself a novel without a hero , as it mercilessly satirized Victorian society Although Thackeray s way of narrating and constructing his novels is rather stilted and redolent of 18th century literary fashion which, by the by, is rather appealing to me , his manner of describing reality, of characterizing people and their motives is by far down to earth than the sentimentalism and sensationalism of his major competitor.Even four years before Thackeray wrote the novel that should grant him literary longevity, he came up with another novel that definitely had no hero in it In The Luck of Barry Lyndon 1844 , he chose a very unreliable first person narrator, an Irish rogue named Redmond Barry, who tells his readers the story of his life, his struggle for prosperity and eminence, a struggle, however, that was mainly waged at card tables and in boudoirs, because hard work and honest trade are not among Redmond Barry s uncountable virtues The original title of the novel already hints at the fact that our hero rather relies on luck and his skills at manipulating it and the headings of individual chapters still retain this reference even if Thackeray later changed the title of the book into The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq. In the tradition of the picaresque novel established by Fielding or Smollett, Barry Lyndon leads an unsteady life, which even entangles him into the Seven Years War, where he fights in the ranks of the English as well as the Prussian armies and mirroring the author s critical view on the military takes no great delight in it Whether in the army, or linked up with his scapegrace uncle, Barry tries to get his advantages over people around him by bullying or by meanest intrigues, and it is a mixture of these fine cultural techniques that finally secures him one of the richest and most eminent English widows and endows him with wealth and the right to count himself among the English peerage Nevertheless, Barry is better at achieving wealth and influence than at wielding and securing them, and soon his brutish recklessness heralds his downfall into disgrace, poverty, and alcoholism Well, he was an alcoholic before, but with a view to his social position, one would not have called this personal flaw alcoholism, but rather referred to it as undaunted conviviality.What can a reader expect from Barry Lyndon Those who anticipate a roller coaster of a novel, packed with adventure and excitement like duels, war stories, and the thrill of a scoundrel finally brought to justice, had better turn to some other book because Barry Lyndon is rather detached in style to the events its hero recounts Thackeray possessed an extensive knowledge of 18th century life and history, and he uses it lavishly in order to have his rascally hero name drop and show off lest any reader might doubt Redmond Barry s connections and importance Another typical Thackeray feature, which distinguishes him from Dickens s theatre like style that relies heavily on scenic presentation with ample dialogue, is a panoramic style of writing, i.e Thackeray and his first person narrator rarely zoom in on any particular situation or turning point but instead concentrate on the broad development of things What makes Barry Lyndon very interesting all the same, is the obvious incongruity between the narrator s high opinion of himself and his depraved lifestyle and actions, which he presents in a vulgarly grandiloquent style In one situation, for instance, Barry remembers an autodidact who has been forced to join the Prussian army and who bears it with quite noble stoicism, and he scornfully refers to this philosophical stance as weakness and egotism, which he according to his own testimony heartily despises Look who s talking, you might think From time to time, Barry s bombastic fits of self adulation are deflated by critical remarks of the fictitious editor of these invaluable memoirs although these insertions do not really seem to be necessary as any perspicacious reader will easily see through Barry s machinations, yet they are extremely amusing.What I find especially fascinating about the book is Thackeray s apparent disillusionment about people in general and his dissatisfaction with Victorian literary fashions, which adhere to romantic notions of poetic justice and which aim at the reader s moral improvement In his final lines, the author muses, It is as right to look at a beauty as at a hunchback and, if to look, to describe, too nor can the most prodigious genius improve upon the original Who knows, then, but the old style of Moli re and Fielding, who drew from nature, may come into fashion again, and replace the terrible, the humorous, always the genteel impossible now in vogue Then, with the sham characters, the sham MORAL may disappear The one is a sickly humbug as well as the other For sure, there are Barry Lyndons than Oliver Twists and John Jarndyces roaming the streets, the parliaments and the executive suites.

  6. says:

    Barry Lyndon es p caro, ego sta, eg latra, derrochador, mentiroso, xen fobo, trata mal a las mujeres no hay un s lo defecto que no tenga Pero l se describe como generoso, bondadoso, valiente, lleno de cualidades, de alto rango y un mont n m s de calificativos que no concuerdan con la propia historia que nos cuenta narrador no fiable si los hay B sicamente l se cree que todo el mundo le debe respeto y que debe conseguir una fortuna debido a esos ancestros nobles de los cuales desciende y que son al menos dudosos aunque su familia haya ca do en desgracia Todo lo malo que le pasa es porque la gente lo difama y no conoce en verdad sus grandes cualidades Todo es culpa de los dem s.La realidad es bien distinta, todo lo malo que le pasa es consecuencia de sus propias acciones malvadas y ego stas, pero no lo puede ver.A pesar de un personaje principal tan despreciable y obsesionado por la posici n social, el libro es muy ameno e interesante y fue un placer leerlo Sacando la parte de las escenas de batalla casi al principio del libro, que me parecieron medio un plomazo, el resto es muy entretenido y una mirada a la sociedad del siglo XVIII y los tejes y manejes pol ticos y sociales de la poca.

  7. says:

    Novela de lectura sorprendentemente r pida y f cil, agradable y divertida Tiene su buena raci n de partes mon tonas y densas divagar acerca del miembro tal y cual de la nobleza es lo que tiene pero no son insoportables Rese a completa

  8. says:

    2 1 2 .

  9. says:

    Mr Barry Lyndon is as unprincipled a personage as ever has figured at the head of a history, and as the public will persist in having a moral appended to such tales, we beg here respectfully to declare that we take the moral of the story of Barry Lyndon, Esquire, to be, that worldly success is by no means the consequence of virtue that if it is effected by honesty sometimes, it is attained by selfishness and roguery still oftener and that our anger at seeing rascals prosper and good men frequently unlucky, is founded on a gross and unreasonable idea of what good fortune really is p.278

  10. says:

    I used to be a compulsive liar.When I was young, I would lie all the time to my parents, to my teachers, to my siblings, to my friends Whenever I was asked a question I didn t know the answer to, I d just make one up I once told my little brother that they made a cast of Abraham Lincoln s face after he died and then shrank it with that machine from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and used it as the mold for the modern penny Hey, he s the one who believed me.It wasn t until I hit high school that I became a Christian and my conscience caught up to my tongue That was around when I started to value integrity than getting away with stuff.But I think my secret past as a liar is what helps me to identify with the main character of Barry Lyndon We both grew up poor, we both wanted to make a better life for ourselves, and we both had no qualms about telling lies if it meant getting us one step closer to our goal.One of my favorite things about this book was that it was told from a liar s point of view, so you really have to read between the lines But Thackeray leaves just enough meat on the bones so that we can imagine what the animal originally looked like before it was flayed by Barry s embellishments.It s a highly entertaining rag to riches to rags story, but there s an undertone of pathos to it In spite of his high spirited style of storytelling, there are places where his happy go lucky veneer wears thin and the reader can see the desperation underneath that drives Barry to do all the crazy things he does He wants to be comfortable, loved, and, above all, respected.But his machinations get steadily darker and desperate until all we can do is pity and maybe even despise him for what he s allowed himself to become by the end of the novel.After looking at what s under that veneer, it s hard to laugh at his antics The moral of the story don t lie, kids In a slightly related story, my fobby Korean boss was recently telling me not to believe a tenant who claimed that his rent check was in the mail He always lie, Jenny, he said The girl who worked here before me was named Jenny I ve been working here six months and they still call me Jenny all the time He say he send check, but he don t, Jenny, he continued So he s a lying liar who lies, I offered Yes, he agreed, shaking his head disapprovingly His pents is on fire That made me laugh.

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