Barry Lyndon
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Barry Lyndon

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  786 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Set in late 18th century Europe the adventures and mis-adventures of a minor member of the Irish gentry trying to better himself. Redmond Barry of Bally Barry is a clever young man, who learns the manners of a gentleman. This serves him well, for the next few decades he meanders through Europe, as a soldier, mercenary, gambler, and vagabond. He reaches the pinnacle of worl...more
Published September 6th 1984 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1844)
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Esco esasperata ma contenta dalla lettura di questo romanzo. Esasperata perché il protagonista mi ha infastidito, innervosito, fino a farsi odiare, per cui il finale che gli spetta mi ha soddisfatto. Però….
La duplicità di sensazioni sopra descritta mi ha accompagnato fino alla fine, con prevalenza a momenti dell’una e a momenti dell’altra. Thackeray si è divertito a creare un Barry Lindon tronfio, bugiardo, vanesio, giocatore incallito, ubriacone, spendaccione, manesco, ignorante, un immorale in...more
Nel momento in cui un personaggio comincia a raccontarti morte e miracoli, uno si aspetta che abbia fatto grandi cose, o che abbia agito in maniera tale da ispirarti, ma non è mica detto, eh.

Barry Lyndon assilla il proprio lettore dilungadosi sulla sua progidiosa vita, che a detta di lui, è fra le più singolare di qualsiasi uomo vissuto in Europa (ma anche no).
Comincia dai tempi in cui era un bambino proveniente da una famiglia irlandese alla rovina, per mano dei debiti di gioco della figura pat...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
''...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 me...more
Johnny Waco
Barry Lyndon is a fine, rollicking example of the picaresque novel, in the tradition of Tom Jones perhaps. Redmond Barry is ambitious and headstrong, meant for a life of pleasure and recognition, but there is one slight problem--he was born into a decayed, dubiously aristocratic family in Ireland. After fighting his first duel at fifteen, he flees Ireland and goes through a hilarious series of adventures: army deserter, spy, gambler and card cheat, seducer, and sycophant. Unscrupulous but endear...more
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...more
Barry Lyndon is a classically "unreliable narrator". He's an Irish rogue who joins the British army after an unhappy love affair and then goes on to fame and fortune as a fashionable gambler. As in Vanity Fair, Thackeray is interested in representing his characters accurately and realistically, and his portrayal of the dissolute, amoral Barry, a rake who thinks he's a prince among men, is masterful.
Vanity Fair is one of my favourite books and from the bit I read of this in the bookshop it sounded like it'd be just as fun. Unfortunately, the main character was such a cad you just really couldn't like him at all. I was wanting a likeable villain, like Becky or Valmont, but he was just a horrid gambler, wife and child beating drunk. The style was still absolutely gorgeous though and there were some amazingly beautiful turns of phrase. It did make me laugh in several places I just wish there h...more
Greg Deane
William Thackeray’s The Luck of Barry Lyndon, is a novel-without-a-hero, narrated by the disingenuous Irish adventurer, Barry Redmond, whose lies and misrepresentations, coupled with his misconceptions of honour and manners, unintentionally reveal him to be a bullying scoundrel. Fleeing from the legal consequences of a duel, he becomes an enlisted soldier in both British and Prussian armies during the Seven Years War (1756-1763). His duplicitous nature serves him well as a spy, a gamester and co...more
Oh I got soo tired of Barry Lyndon. He never learns anything and remains a vain, foolish, pompous ass until the day he dies (which unfortunately doesn't come quickly enough). I did like the historical bits about clothing, horses, carriages, debt, gambling, etc. The rest...oh what a dull creature despite all his braggadocio. The intro said that Thackeray had added many more fake editor's notes at one point. I wish my edition had those notes. The few that were there were very amusing.

Also perplexe...more
Esco esasperata ma contenta dalla lettura di questo romanzo. Esasperata perché il protagonista mi ha infastidito, innervosito, fino a farsi odiare, per cui il finale che gli spetta mi ha soddisfatto. Però….
La duplicità di sensazioni sopra descritta mi ha accompagnato fino alla fine, con prevalenza a momenti dell’una e a momenti dell’altra. Thackeray si è divertito a creare un Barry Lindon tronfio, bugiardo, vanesio, giocatore incallito, ubriacone, spendaccione, manesco, ignorante, un immorale in...more
Robyn Blaber
If anyone has ever had occasion to boast, only to find that their audience is astonished not at the grandeur of the boast, but the nature of the boast itself... well this is the book for you. Barry Lyndon narrates his life much in the style of Giacomo Casanova, exchanging the unbridled sexual acts for even more unbridled acts of violence, often in the form dueling.

What's funny is the way Barry stops so often to say, "Now the reader might get the impression that I [am a very bad person] because...more
I still loved this book, as I love all flawed antiheroes and unreliable narrators, but upon a reread it was clearer to me than before what an utter sociopath Redmond Barry Lyndon is. He literally thinks of nothing but his image, how to advance himself, accumulate wealth and position in society and has no qualms about lying, cheating, stealing or violence to get them. Even his instances of generosity are with an eye to manipulating others into doing what he wants. He shuns his own mother when he...more
Josh Eustis
Sep 20, 2007 Josh Eustis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Not everyone, exactly
Of course, the film is fantastic: it is the ultimate example of how to execute a period piece. But the novel - amazing. This story is about an Irish guy who is basically a complete degenerate and is an expert in all forms of misconduct. Top that off with a grossly idealized self-regard, and you've got a winner. It's so funny, though, and so well-written, that it is absolutely a must-read. I also greatly prefer the novel's shrewd and stalwart Lord Bullingdon in comparison to the film's snivelling...more
Joy H.
Added 2/9/13.
I watched the film. Did not read the book although would like to.

Although parts of the movie are slow-paced, it held my attention because of the beautiful cinematography and music. Parts of the movie were absolutely rivetting.

The Wiki page explains the differences between the book and the film. From what I could gather from Wiki, the book puts a more humorous spin on the character.

The film won many awards:
Awards included Academy Award Oscars f...more
Chris Johnson
A crazy story about a self-deluded loafer who wanders through Europe in the 1880s. He constantly fails at whatever he tries, but is under the impression that he's succeeded marvelously. A cynical book about human nature and how well people can deceive themselves. A fun read.
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
The life and exploits of 18th century Irish adventurer Redmond Barry.

I honestly read this because I saw Kubrick's film adaptation on IFC one day and had to find what piece of literature inspired such a delicate piece of art on film. I wasn't disappointed.
Dara Salley
I really hated this book at first. The protagonist would be in the running for the title of “Most Horrible Person Ever.” Barry Lyndon is the “hero” as well as the narrator and continually congratulates himself for his class, heroism and intelligence while behaving ignominiously and ruining the lives of everyone he comes in contact with.

It took me a while to realize that Thackeray was in jest with his depiction of Barry Lyndon. At first I thought he really was trying to tell the tale of a loveab...more
William Makepeace Thackeray nacque a Calcutta da una famiglia inglese. Il padre morì quando aveva quattro anni e due anni dopo William venne mandato in Inghilterra a studiare, separato così sia dal suo paese di nascita sia dalla madre, che rimase in India.
Queste separazioni segnarono la sua intera vita, trascorsa alla ricerca di un punto fermo che non trovò mai. A 19 anni interruppe gli studi, svoltisi in numerosi istituti nei quali ebbe poco successo, visse migrando da un paese all’altro, sperp...more
Rob Maynard
I stumbled sideways into Thackeray by way of Stanley Kubrick. A Sony Movie Channel documentary on Kubrick made me want to try to watch Barry Lyndon, Kubrick’s early 1970s take on the late eighteenth century. The movie is worth your time, but I cannot imagine trying to watch the thing in one sitting(with an intermission, anyone remember those) in the theater. It clocked in at three hours and four minutes and features many long scenes in which not a whole lot of action is happening. Compared with...more
First read Vanity Fair then read Barry Lyndon. These are some of the greatest works in the English language, but there is only one flaw. You kind of have to be an addict or a gambler to fully appreciate them. Apparantly, Thackeray had a little problem with the cards and roulette wheels and that theme is now all to apparent to me. Having said that, Barry Lyndon is the best ever biography of a narcissist and traces the roots of the narcissism so expertly that I daresay every psychologist MUST read...more
Brendan Lyons
I think one of the best films I have ever seen was Stanley Kubrick's classic production of this title and now I have gone back to the original. There are the inevitable omissions, deletions, variations and outright changes between the movie and the book but there can be no question that Kubrick caught the very spirit and essence of this work. Thackeray was a major rival to Dickens in the world of popular mid-Victorian literature and to my mind was the better if far less prolific writer. Both aut...more
Yet Another Novel Without a Hero

William 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 constructi...more
James Loftus
Like so many of the best stories, a rags to riches story. Young Barry, dashing, handsome and Irish. He sets off innocent but launches himself into the world with a bravado that evokes the tales of mythical heroes, heroes who meet dragons and slay them. Barry after a series of adventures that are very illuminative of the times, the 1770's & thereafter, a fascinating period of manners of duels, of walks in tranquil gardens and men on the make seeking to meet rich heiressess and take their fort...more
An collection of non-ending catastrophies, one after another! From some stage on you just beging to laugh when ever a fail comes true. But the last 19 years of his life, finaly in prison, fighting with sickness and alkoholism is different … This could be a TV-serie instead of a film.

Victorian literature is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901), tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives, perseverance and love in civil society….
The main elements in Victoria...more
Fenixbird SandS
Nov 12, 2007 Fenixbird SandS added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fiction history books made into movies
Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (1975) ......Here is a short excerprt from Roger Ebert's review of this Academy Award winning book made into film:
". . .
With "Barry Lyndon," based on a novel by Thackeray, he has a very nearly ideal subject for the exploration of this theme. His hero is a young man that things happen to Barry seems to exercise little conscious control over his life. He falls into a foolish adolescent love, has to leave the district suddenly after a duel, enlists almost absentminde...more
There's a reason Thackery is known for Vanity Fair and not for Barry Lyndon. I'm not really sure I can make a more sophisticated argument regarding what I didn't love about this novel than that. Barry Lyndon has moments of hearty humor, great philosophical insight (particularly with regard to marriage and relationships), and enough of a compelling narrator/protagonist to drive the story forward in a reasonably compelling way. What it lacks is the consistency its contemporary novels that also mak...more
Tim Ostler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erin Cataldi
In this 1844 classic, English author William Makepeace Thackeray, delights readers with the tale of Barry Lyndon, a classically "unreliable narrator." Lyndon is an Irish rogue who joins the British army after an ill-fated love affair and then goes on to fame and fortune as a fashionable gambler. As in his masterpiece, Vanity Fair, Thackeray presents his characters accurately and realistically. His portrayal of the dissolute, unscrupulous Barry, a degenerate who thinks he is royalty amongst men,...more
David Williams
This satire of manners is narrated by the eponymous 'hero', though only he gives himself that epithet. Barry Lyndon is possibly the most unreliable narrator in English literature, and there is a great deal of entertainment to be had in contrasting his version of characters and events with the truth that peeps out through the pages. It is good fun to be shown aspects of eighteenth century high society with all its hypocrisy and foibles in the company of a (largely) lovable scoundrel, though his r...more
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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...more
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“A lady who sets her heart upon a lad in uniform must prepare to change lovers pretty quickly, or her life will be but a sad one.” 16 likes
“It was in the reign of George II. that the above-named personages lived and quarrelled ; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now” 7 likes
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