The Vicar of Wakefield

Pansy Noyes Bryant, in her notes on Caroline Atwell, spoke of the book “The Vicar of Wakefield”, which had been passed down through the family and was in her possession, originally owned by Rachel Scagel Atwell when books were scarce. Rachel was born in 1802 and died 1844, so Pansy had in her possession a book that was perhaps140 years old, for she had seemed to connect the book with Rachel’s youth. If Rachel did not possess it as a younger woman, prior her marriage, then the book was still at least 120 years old.

Though originally published in 1766, “The Vicar of Wakefield” was a popular read during the 19th century as well as the 18th. Written by Irish author Oliver Goldsmith, the novel, with many tragic and comic turnarounds, was a satire on the sentimental novel.

As someone descended from Rachel, it would be interesting to read it with her in mind, knowing that she had likely enjoyed it multiple times.

Link to online versions of The Vicar of Wakefield

Samuel Johnson Reading the Vicar of Wakefield

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