the luck of barry lindon (1856)


The novels by W. M. Thakeray were called novels without a hero. The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1856) was probably an autobiography of an Irish adventurer, Barry Redmond, soldier in the British and Prussian armies during the Seven Years War (1756-1763), spy, gambler and fortune – hunter. Redmond Barry of Bally Barry feels to be a gentleman. He is a passionate young man and soon falls in love with his cousin Nora who is promised to an English officer, John Quinn. Barry engages a duel with Quinn and thinks he has assassinated the man, but the pistols were not loaded . Barry escapes to Dublin, but soon loses his money and joins an infantry regiment in Germany. There Barry helps his Lieutenant who has been wounded , takes him to a German village for treatment and then escapes with all his money and documents. He also takes the identity of Lieutenant Fakenham, and goes to a neutral German territory, hoping for better fortune. On his way he meets a Prussian officer who understands he is a deserter , and leads him to join the Prussian army : here Barry becomes the servant of Captain Potzdorff, and is involved in the intrigues of that gentleman. After several months, Redmond is sent to spy on an older man called Chevalier de Balibari, just come to Austria. Soon Barry recognize in the gentlemen his uncle and the two start travelling around Europe, gambling. When they win considerable sums of money, Barry plans to marry a wealthy countess, but after some misfortunes he leaves Germany unmarried. Through a series of adventures, Redmond succeed in seducing the Countess of Lyndon, and marries her. At the break of the American War of Independence, Barry – now Barry Lyndon- raises a company of soldiers to be sent to America and wins a seat in Parliament. But soon good fortunes turns its back again and he finds himself accused of murder and his own child—Bryan—dies in a tragic horse-riding accident. Barry is ruined and alone, abandoned by his wife in prison, dying of alcoholism-related illness.
The novel was made into a film by Stanely Kubrick in 1975.

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