Bulletin of Graduate School of Education, Okayama University
Published by Graduate School of Education, Okayama University

<Formerly known as>
岡山大学教育学部研究集録 (1号-137号)

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The Way of the Classical Age as Seen in The Vicar of Wakefield: Reasonablenessin Religion

Major literary works are, as is generally admitted, a mirror in which multiple currents of any particular age are faithfully reflected. Upon reading Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield (hereafter referred to as The Vicar, 1766), one cannot resist an impression that this is especially true of the work. What strikes us is a pervasive atmosphere of harmony between man and nature and a keen sense of poetry to be enjoyed heartily in the characters' daily life. These are reflected in the narration by Primrose the protagonist and Anglican clergyman. True we see in the work signs of an uneasy relationship between the haves and the have-nots due in part to the abuse of power by the former at the sacrifice of the latter; and due in part to the age's legacy of surviving brutality, the miserable condition of life, and the resulting social ills in the lower order of society. Also, we discern in it signs of the incipient decay of the traditional village community. Still, the village life retains its wholeness and integrity in the fabric of a close-knit human network based on its agricultural way of life.