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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.
”Novel by Oliver Goldsmith, published in two volumes in 1766. The story, a portrait of village life, is narrated by Dr. Primrose, the title character, whose family endures many trials--including the loss of most of their money, the seduction of one daughter, the destruction of their home by fire, and the vicar's incarceration--before all is put right in the end. The novel's idealization of rural life, sentimental moralizing, and melodramatic incidents are countered by a sharp but good-natured irony.” -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Oliver Goldsmith (1728 - 1774) was born in Ireland. Having studied at Trinity College, Dublin, he studied medicine at Edinburgh and Leyden after being rejected by the Church of Ireland. Settling in London, he was writing professionally by 1757 and became a friend of Johnson. Best known for She Stoops to Conquer, The Vicar of Wakefield is his only novel and is generally considered his finest work.
Stephen Coote was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge and Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of critical studies of Chaucer, T.S. Eliot and English literature of the Middle Ages, as well as biographies of Byron and William Morris. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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