The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.: A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2017年11月4日 - 196页
Thackeray's great historical novel recounts the events of Queen Anne's reign through the eyes of a ranking officer in her military, dramatizing the events surrounding principle players of the English Restoration.
The book is presented in the style of a memoir, beginning in 1678. Henry commences life as an apparently poor orphan, residing in the guardianship of French Huguenot refugees. However, the local Viscount of Castlewood, Thomas Esmond, takes him from this existence at age ten - it is assumed that Henry is the nobleman's illegitimate son.
Even as a boy, Henry is made to be acutely aware of the era's intense and destructive conflicts. Thomas - a Catholic - is in staunch opposition to King William III and takes up arms against him. Killed in the Battle of the Boyne, Esmond's less rebellious cousin Francis takes over the family lands; he and his wife the Lady Castlewood acknowledge Henry as a legitimate part of the family, and care for him.
As Henry comes of age, Francis is killed in a dual - a fairly frequent practice between the aristocracy of the era. As he lays dying from his wounds, Francis reveals in a letter he'd composed that Henry is the heir to the Castlewood fortune; still formally a bastard, an emotional Henry burns the confession, afraid of the grave damage to the family reputation it could bring.
For a time, there is enmity between Henry and his foster mother. However after years spent in successful military service, he and Lady Castlewood reconcile. Partway through his army service, Esmond becomes smitten with his vivacious and attractive cousin Beatrix, but is warned of her immense, even callous, vanity. The final parts of the book reveal Henry's fate, both in his soldiering career and his romantic life.
The History of Henry Esmond is one of Thackeray's most acclaimed historical novels. The liveliness with which it describes a period of upheaval in English life was praised by critics and contemporaries of the Victorian era. Thackeray's intense descriptions of the era led to the Queen Anne style being created as much from the author's ideas as from an urge to accurately reproduce early 18th century style.
大家的评论 - 撰写书评