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Barnaby Rudge (Vintage Classics) Paperback – March 7, 2011


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Barnaby Rudge (Vintage Classics) + Dombey and Son (Penguin Classics) + Martin Chuzzlewit (Wordsworth Classics)
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Classics
  • Paperback: 730 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK (March 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540847
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,383,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-12-Dicken's tale of private lives and public events takes place in the unrest of the 1780's London. This BBC production includes a full cast, music, and sound effects.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"One of Dickens' most neglected, but most rewarding, novels."  —Peter Ackroyd, author, London: The Biography


"I would always prefer to go get another Dickens off the shelf than pick up a new book by someone I've not read yet."  —Donna Tartt, author, The Little Friend

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Russael on November 23, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Barnaby Rudge is an early Dickens novel, his first historical novel, of the Gordon riots of 1780, about fifty years before his time. The book is a mere 634 pages, that is, two thirds as long as Copperfield but a 100 pages longer than The Old Curiosity Shop. One of Dickens' strong points is atmosphere, and this novel is one of his best in that department. His description of the Maypole Inn and its proprietor, slow John, is marvelous. Much of the book describes the riots and their effect on various characters. Barnaby himself is an idiot, but such an excellent character for all that. The villians actually have good qualities in this book. And by the way, the Raven Grip is supposedly the model for Poe's raven. I would not start reading Dickens with Barnaby, but even though it's not as well known as ten other of his novels, I can highly recommend if you like other Dickens to give this book a read. I intend to reread it in my next round of Dickens rereading.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on February 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Dickens is one of my favourite authors, and I took up this book simply because I wanted to read all his books. "Barnaby Rudge", though is a little different than some of Dickens' other works. For one it's about a true historical happening. The riots of 1780 actually did occur. It's one of his shorter books, and it was written earlier on in his career. The book is really not where a reader should start with Dickens' books, but it should be read nonetheless. It still has the same great characterizations and atmosphere that we expect from Dickens, and it's still a good story. Barnaby is quite the character. We have to laugh at his antics, and Slow John at the Maypole Inn is absolutely wonderful. I read this book quite awhile ago, and while I'm writing this review, I'm thinking I need to reread it again. Wonderful atmosphere!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a well paced and fast-moving historical novel set during the anti-popery riots in London in 1780. Although not as grippingly exciting as Dicken's other historical novel, A Tale Of Two Cities, there is plenty of drama here to sustain the reader's interest.
The fictional characters are well woven into the historical setting, and the portrayal of these characters gives the book some of its best comic moments, from the suave Edward Chester, to the vengeful Simon Tappertit, to the spiteful Miss Miggs, to the devious hangman, Dennis. The hero of the book is Gabriel Varden, whom Dickens repeatedly describes, rather clumsily, as "the honest locksmith". Varden has to suffer constant friction in his own household between himself, his wife, his apprentice and his maid, and this agitation reflects the agitation of the masses in the streets.
One of the best features of the book is the way it successfully carries a number of plot lines. The main one of these concerns a murder committed many years previously for which no-one has been convicted. There are several other sub-plots such as the tension between the Catholic Haredale and the Protestant Chester, Joe Willet's love for Varden's daughter, the comical scheming of the apprentice locksmith against his master and the presence of a shadowy stranger who pursues Barnaby Rudge's mother. Some elements of the plot fizzle out a bit too easily towards the end, such as the attempt to kidnap Haredale's daughter, but the overall effect of the book is very satisfying.
This is one of Dicken's least remembered novels, but I think it is well worth reading and an excellent introduction to his work.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
Focused primarily on the "anti-popery" riots in London in1780, and filled with wild scenes of carnage involving a large cast of characters from all levels of society, Barnaby Rudge is Dickens's first historical novel, and it includes the real Lord George Gordon, a virulent anti-Catholic who whipped the populace into a frenzy. The author sets the scene for the tumult by first painting a picture of quiet village society in Chigwell in 1775, five years earlier, often using humor to depict the numerous characters.

Geoffrey Haredale, a Catholic, has inherited the estate of his brother Reuben, who was murdered twenty-two years before. He has brought up his niece Emma, who is in love with the kindly Edward Chester, a Protestant, the son of the odious Lord John Chester, who lives nearby. Dozens of characters populate the book--including Barnaby Rudge (the developmentally disabled son of Mary Rudge, who works on an estate), the Willetts (who run the Maypole Inn), Gabriel Varden (a locksmith) and his daughter Dolly (who eventually works for Emma Haredale), mysterious strangers, ghosts, a sinister blind man, and even Grip, Barnaby's talking raven.

The action takes off when the time shifts from 1775 to 1780, and the focus changes from village life and the sometimes amusing domestic concerns of the people to the growing anti-Catholic sentiment being stirred up in London. The humor, which has been a big part of the first part of the book, ends, and Dickens concentrates on the growing hatred and the battles spawned by that hatred, with good people being drawn into brutality that they would otherwise avoid. Violence and several deaths take place, the populace becomes a mob, and rioting leads to the burning of properties.
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