By William Makepeace Thackeray
Quittant l’Irlande à l. a. suite d’un duel qui tourne mal, Redmond Barry s’enrôle dans l’armée anglaise alors en guerre contre l. a. Prusse. Après avoir été fait prisonnier par l’ennemi, il sera contraint d’espionner un yes chevalier de Balibari pour le compte des Allemands. Coup de théâtre : celui-ci n’est autre que son oncle ! Tous deux prennent alors l. a. fuite et deviennent, avec succès et moyennant quelques tricheries, joueurs de cartes professionnels.
Ambitieux, Redmond parvient à se marier avec l. a. comtesse Lyndon, une riche veuve. Mais leur relation se révèle houleuse. En plus de dépenser sa fortune, Barry se comporte en mari tyrannique. Jeune arriviste débauché, libertin, il est l’archétype de l’opportuniste à los angeles recherche de los angeles gloire et de l’argent…
Dans un variety grinçant, le narrateur des fake Mémoires de Barry Lyndon décrit avec ironie les travers de los angeles haute société cosmopolite d’un XVIIIe siècle décadent.
En 1975, Stanley Kubrick healthy de cette oeuvre, qu’il tira d’un relatif oubli, une magistrale edition cinématographique.
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Additional resources for Barry Lyndon
I would also like to thank Dan Franklin, Pascal Cariss and Jason Arthur at Jonathan Cape. Pieces in this book were compiled by Professor James Diedrick. I gratefully salute his skill and acuity. R. Leavis and Lionel Trilling, and on lesser figures like Ian Robinson and Denis Donoghue). 'Literature and society' was, at one time, a phrase so much on everyone's lips that it earned itself an abbreviation: Lit & Soc. And Lit & Soc, I seemed to remember, had been for me a long-running enthusiasm. But when I leafed through the massed manuscripts I found only a handful of essays, all of them written, rather ominously, in the early Seventies (when I was in my early twenties).
Why oh why, he typically asks, is Hollywood so obsessed by Vietnam and so unmoved by the struggle in Kuwait, which, 'amazingly enough', has yet to be celebrated on film? If Dan Quayle were a lot brighter, this is what he would sound like. Despite its contemporary attire, Medved's theme, or plaint, is as old as time. It is Ubi sunt? all over again. Where are they now, the great simplicities of yesterday? In years past, in the heyday of Gary Cooper and Greta Garbo, Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepburn, the movie business drew considerable criticism for manufacturing personalities who were larger than life, impossibly noble and appealing individuals who could never exist in the real world.
America is that the moviegoing public doesn't like violence. ' Certainly, Hollywood vs. America got Hollywood thinking, at least for a weekend or two (late nights in the dens of the Moorish mansions). And it got America thinking, too, and the controversy that gathered around it managed to trickle up as high as Janet Reno and Bill Clinton. It was a book, and a mood, whose time had come: the feeling that Hollywood had gone too far in its divergence from the American mainstream; the feeling that Hollywood loved everything that America hated (violence, sex, swearing, drugging, drinking and smoking), and hated everything that America loved (religion, parents, marriage and monogamy, plus the military, policemen, businessmen and America).