The Amateur Gentleman
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The Amateur Gentleman is an early novel by the popular author of Regency period swashbucklers, Jeffrey Farnol, published in 1913. The novel was made into a silent film in 1920, another silent film in 1926 and film in 1936 with Douglas Fairbanks Junior starring as the protagonist, Barnabas Barty.
The format of the novel is essentially that of a bildungsroman. It tells the story of Barnabas Barty, the son of John Barty, the former champion boxer of England and landlord of a pub in Kent. At the start of the tale Barnabas comes fortuitously into the possession of a vast fortune - £700,000, an astronomical amount by Regency standards - and determines to use this fortune to become a gentleman. His father objects to this plan and they quarrel, and settle their differences in a round of fisticuffs, which Barnabas wins, beating his father fair and square. Barnabas sets off for London in the furtherance of his ambitions and on the way there contrives to make a number of influential friends and enemies.
Farnol ploughs an uncomfortably dualistic furrow vis-á-vis his protagonist. He ruthlessly exploits the naïvety of the youth to comic effect, for instance the youth is gulled by the chapman who sells him a book on etiquette at an outrageous mark-up, and Farnol makes much play of this. At the other end of the spectrum, Farnol is equally disdainful of Barnabas' sophisticated concealment of his identity.
- Title: The amateur gentleman: a romance
- Author: Jeffery Farnol
- Editor: Low, Marston, 1913
- Page Nº: 599 pages
- (French) The Amateur Gentleman website dedicated to Sidney Olcott
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