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Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Barnaby Rudge (1841)

by Charles Dickens

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Not the very best of Dickens but still very good. It has all of his strengths and weaknesses, especially an over sentimentalised ending. It starts to have some longueurs towards the middle but then the Gordon Riots kick in and the narrative becomes all action. ( )
  stephengoldenberg | Apr 6, 2016 |
Dickens' great strength is his characters, and in this he creates another couple of gems. Gabriel Varden is a real salt of the earth type, down to earth, upright, principled as honest as the day is long and caught up in events beyond his control. By contrast, his apprentice is a slimy weasel of a man and is not worthy of the locksmith's daughter. The title character is an idiot, but not completely without sense. He's endearing enough that you do care about him. Set in the midst of the Gordon riots of the 1780s, this is a history, being written somewhat later. There's lots of weighty matters in here, crime and punishment, he death penalty, the way that a mob mentality can take over, manipulation of people and events for personal revenge, the works. There's a reason Dickens is still read today, it's because he captures the entire of the human condition. ( )
  Helenliz | Mar 26, 2016 |
Barnaby Rudge is one of Dickens’s two historical novels (the other being A Tale of Two Cities). This one is based on the anti-Catholic Gordon riots that occurred in London in 1780. The first third of the book introduces us to all the characters and doesn’t seem to have much point other than that. The last two-thirds of the book are about how each of the characters experiences the riots and deals with the aftermath.

This was not one of Dickens’s more enjoyable works, although it’s not bad. I really struggled with it until I looked up the historical background of the Gordon riots and then it all made sense. I also think that there are some interesting parallels between this period of history and some of the things happening around the world today. The main reason that I didn’t enjoy it as much as some of his other novels is that there wasn’t a lot of comic relief. In most of Dickens’s books, there’s one character who is absolutely hilarious. In Barnaby Rudge there were a couple of characters who were funny, but there wasn’t that one character who blows everyone else away. Overall, this probably isn’t the best novel to read if you’re only a casual Dickens reader, but if you’re a big fan of his or if you’re interested in the historical aspect, it’s worth reading. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Dickens introduces this novel with several chapters of pure fiction set in 1775, laying out two romance plots and a murder mystery. Then the story jumps ahead five years to the Gordon Riots of 1780 when historical events take over the plot, catching up his characters in the turmoil. There's good understanding shown here of how a mob gathers, acts, and is reacted to. This was Dickens' first crack at writing historical fiction and he used several sources to get the details right. Significant characters in the novel (e.g. Lord Gordon) were real people, and their personalities are believed to be accurately portrayed.

If this is Dickens' least popular novel, I blame its title character. Barnaby is an innocent simpleton whose cognitive abilities slide up and down the scale as the plot demands. He's a rare personality that Dickens could not get a handle on, or at least was less true in portraying for the sake of directing his story. He was also Dickens' third variant on the helpless innocent motif, following Oliver and Little Nell, and the most shallow even by that comparison. From the first page we meet him he is living a vacant-minded idyllic life, and almost nothing shakes him from it. It's as flat a character arc as you might imagine.

The book isn't really about Barnaby, however, despite its title, since there's nothing central about him and he remains a sideshow in his own story. The secondary plot romances are far more engaging and often feel primary. Only thematically can I find a purpose for Barnaby, where he serves as an extreme symbol of disparity between mob mentality and the individuals that comprise it. Potential blame for this novel's being unpopular might also lie with the subject matter. How many people outside England today have heard of the Gordon Riots, or can imagine Protestant extremists? On the other hand riots, political unrest and religious angst are abundantly relevant in our modern context. This work could win a renaissance for reminding us there is nothing new under the sun. ( )
  Cecrow | Apr 27, 2015 |
A mixture of fact and fiction and an indication of things yet to come. The historical perspective of A Tale of Two Cities plus a hint of future plot manipulation and twists and turns best exemplified by Great Expectations. The Gordon Riots of 1780 is the backdrop, but as always, human nature is paramount to the tale. Religion was not the important factor to these characters. Despite the cries of 'No Popery,' each and everyone had a hidden agenda. The character of Barnaby himself was less than consistent in tone, but most of the characters were very well-drawn and, frankly, the female characters were a breath of fresh air after that insipid Nell. Overall, a good read. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 18, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Dickensprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bowen, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, Hablot KnightIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buckland, A. H.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cattermole, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spence, GordonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tillotson, KathleenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the year 1775, there stood upon the borders of Epping Forest, at a distance of about twelve miles from London--measuring from the Standard in Cornhill, or rather from the spot on or near to which the Standard used to be in days of yore--a house of public entertainment called the Maypole; which fact was demonstrated to all such travellers as could neither read nor write (and at that time a vast number both of travellers and stay-at-homes were in this condition) by the emblem reared on the roadside over against the house, which, if not of those goodly proportions that Maypoles were wont to present in olden times, was a fair young ash, thirty feet in height, and straight as any arrow that ever English yeoman drew.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140437282, Paperback)

The title character of Barnaby Rudge, a feeble minded individual, is a passive actor who is swept along by events. Based on Gordon Riots of June 1780, the riots reach a climax in the storming and destruction of the Newgate Prison. This work is famous for its descriptions of mob violence which shows Dickens' descriptive abilities. First published in 1841.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:03 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Dickens' first historical novel is set against the famous No Popery riots instigated by Lord George Gordon in 1780. Prejudice and intolerance are woven into the mysterious tale of a long unsolved murder and a forbidden romance.

» see all 9 descriptions

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Average: (3.68)
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14 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140437282, 0141199695

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