Barnaby Rudge

Barnaby Rudge

A Tale of the Riots of 'eighty

Book - 2005
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Charles Dickens's first historical novel-set during the anti-Catholic riots of 1780-is an unparalleled portrayal of the terror of a rampaging mob, seen through the eyes of the individuals swept up in the chaos.

Those individuals include Emma, a Catholic, and Edward, a Protestant, whose forbidden love weaves through the heart of the story; and the simpleminded Barnaby, one of the riot leaders, whose fate is tied to a mysterious murder and whose beloved pet raven, Grip, embodies the mystical power of innocence. The story encompasses both the rarified aristocratic world and the volatile streets and nightmarish underbelly of London, which Dickens characteristically portrays in vivid, pulsating detail. But the real focus of the book is on the riots themselves, depicted with an extraordinary energy and redolent of the dangers, the mindlessness, and the possibilities-both beneficial and brutal-of the mob.

One of the lesser-known novels, Barnaby Rudge is nonetheless among the most brilliant-and most terrifying-in Dickens's oeuvre.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
 

Publisher: New York. : Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
ISBN: 9780307262905
0307262901
Characteristics: xxxii, 730 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.

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lukasevansherman
Mar 11, 2015

"So do the shadows of our own desires sand between us and our better angles, and thus their brightness is eclipsed."
Um, how does this have a one-star rating? Are you people drunk on cheap gin? A lesser known Dickens novel, this is nonetheless one of his more provocative and compelling books. Inspired by the Gordon Riots, which were a series of anti-Catholic uprisings, "Barnaby Rudge" (1841) displays Dickens's usual mastery of multiple plots and a diverse cast of characters. Like Shakespeare, he has a sympathy for the common man, but a fear of the mob. This is one of his most political books and almost wholly without the sentimentality that sometimes mars his work. Like many of his novels, it was serialized. Get the illustrated version if you can.

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