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The Gadfly

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Gadfly.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    E. L. Voynich(Author)

    Book details


The Gadfly (1897) by Ethel Lillian Voynich is a startling multi-layered story of ideological transformation, love, and legendary, superhuman courage. It encapsulates the life of Arthur Burton and his transition from a delicate and beautiful, innocent youth to a disillusioned and outspoken revolutionary hero, a remarkable man who undergoes a crisis of faith and becomes the proverbial Gadfly.

The Gadfly is an ordinary man with human failings and weaknesses, a secret love, and a complex burden of pain. And yet he is larger than life, a superhero of fortitude, an atheist and humanist, an outspoken opponent of the political status quo and a proponent of freedom for the people; his words devastate and sting his enemies by the force of truth they convey.

Set in Italy during the tumultuous period of political unrest in the middle of the nineteenth century, this unusual novel was an inspirational bestseller abroad, particularly remarkable in its emotional impact. And now it deserves to be discovered by a whole new generation of readers.

Ethel Lilian Voynich, née Boole (11 May 1864 – 27 July 1960) was an Anglo-Irish novelist and musician, and a supporter of several revolutionary causes. She was born in Cork, but grew up in England. Voynich was a significant figure, not only on the late Victorian literary scene, but also in Russian émigré circles. She is best known for her novel The Gadfly, which became hugely popular in her lifetime, especially in Russia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 312 pages
  • E. L. Voynich(Author)
  • Norilana Books (21 Sept. 2006)
  • English
  • 6
  • Fiction

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Review Text

  • By S J E HILL on 11 February 2015

    A great read, this book is exceptionally well written and I would definitely recommend it to my friends if I had any

  • By Dr Jon Agirre on 27 August 2013

    This book is a very good read for anyone critical with the church's ubiquitous role as moral reference for humanity, christian or not. It's well written, although some sentences are difficult to understand nowadays. The author was born Lily Boole, daughter to the famous irish mathematician Boole, developer of the logical (boolean) algebra.

  • By Guest on 3 February 2017

    Great story but book itself is in a horrible format.

  • By Secret Spi on 30 November 2010

    "Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive." This quote from Josephine Hart sums up the essence of The Gadfly. Although set in a far-off time (mid nineteenth century Italy), the themes in this book are nevertheless relevant for today.The story starts with an idyllic scene in a cloister garden with the sensitive, intelligent nineteen-year-old Arthur and his mentor, the priest Montanelli. Arthur is involved in a revolutionary youth movement and the dark clouds surrounding this apparent idyll soon begin to form. Montanelli turns out to be Arthur's father in the flesh as well as spiritually and betrayal and deceit follow Arthur into prison.Arthur fakes his death and escapes to South America where the damage inflicted on his soul is compounded and joined by physical damage to his body. Years later, disturbed but defiant, he returns to Italy as The Gadfly. The story traces his revolutionary activities, his reunion with his childhood sweetheart and his continuing antagonism with the Catholic Church, personified by his father, now Cardinal Montanelli.The story ends with a soaring climax that may be over-the-top to some of today's readers. But if you can temporarily park your 21st century cynicism, this is an emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking story that perhaps deserves more recognition.

  • By Herr Holz Paul on 19 September 2015

    Not quite what I was expecting, but then to have expectations of a novel is perhaps a little misconceived. I came across this novel while reading Solzhenitsyn I believe, and having read that it is centered around the Risorgimento in Italy I was expecting more in the way of revolutionary activities. As it is, it is more of an unusual, almost surreal tale concentrated on the protagonist Arthur and the bizarre story surrounding his life.Only in the final stages of the book do things start to formulate towards a dramatic climax! So quite an unusual book in some ways but then that is why we read is it not? You never quite know what you are getting in to.

  • By jules on 31 January 2011

    I cannot believe I had never heard of this book before I read it. I can't remember why I bought it - I think it was a personal recommendation, and I was pretty suspect about the whole thing until about 50 pages in.It is a truly fantastic book. Reminds me strongly of "For whom the bell tolls", but is if anything, in my opinion, better.If you can cope with the Victorian novel, buy this. Its popularity in Communist Russia in no way detracts from the force and impact of the story today. It should be far more widely read.

  • By advokat on 27 April 2013

    This is a book that during several decades was published in millions of copies - in the Soviet Union and its satellites. There were several movies and a countless production for theatre. It was an obligatory reading in Soviet schools. Not for its literary merits, which are quite modest. This is an anti-religious (and especially anti-Catholic) rant, with loads of revolutionary ethos. It was considered to be a primary benign emotional component of Marxist propaganda. Decent people should read it because of "know thy enemy" requirement.

  • By wilson john haire on 30 December 2012

    The author E.L.Lillian Voynich is an Irish woman married to a Polish revolutionary. An interesting mix which gives her an insight into the struggle against the Austrian occupation of Northern Italy in the 19th Century. Written in the early 20th Century it gives a vivid picture of the Italy of that period.


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