Item description for The Gadfly by L. E. Voynich...
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.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25" Weight: 1.36 lbs.
Release Date Sep 21, 2006
Publisher Norilana Books
ISBN 1934169102 ISBN13 9781934169100
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gadfly?
A book about Love, Ideals, Passion, Determination Sep 27, 2007
I enjoyed this book a lot. It makes you think a lot even after you've finished it. There are many lessons to be learned from this book. For example: choosing between your ideals and the loved ones (when of course they are in conflict), God vs atheism, love and hate (how one can possess both of them towards the same person), ideals and the will and determination to fight for them.
A Huge Sleeper! Jan 7, 2007
This work is pure treasure and a great place for someone who wishes to begin reading fine literature to start. I cannot believe that I never heard of this book until I was 50! It ended up on my large "reading list" and I had to order it online to find a copy -- then (I kick myself) it laid around here for a year before I opened it. When I finally did, I discovered that I could not put this one down -- a quintessential page-turner. It's a very personal saga of a very good man, and, a Priest who betrays him during an Italian rebel uprising period. I savored "War and Peace" and "The Brothers Karamazov", and while "The Gadfly" is that sort of book (much shorter), it's not such a tough go as the former titles. Voynich was brilliant. I read an average of three books a week, and have done so for many years, and this one is one of my top 3 reads ever. Don't miss this one and if you wish to double your pleasure, get a copy of Dmitri Shostakovich's sountrack to "The Gadfly" movie and allow it to play as wallpaper as you read. Incredible stuff!
THE Most Moving Book I Ever Read Jun 20, 2006
It's rather a mystery to me that this book has never gained the kind of popularity in the US that it's always had in Russia. And yes, one can put it down to its political background and revolutionary theme, especially in what is a "lesser" known milieu of Italy in the 1840's, but really this is entirely the outer shell that could easily have been set elsewhere more "popular." I think the problem after all is that this book has been judged by its cover, as it were. But setting aside, it is the most profoundly human and tragic book you may ever read. Much was said of the themes of the book in the other reviews, and it is all true, so I will only say that the ending of the book caught me riding home on the subway, and I wept like I have never ever wept in my life. People stared at me as if I were insane, but of course I didn't care - I was being affected by something most people would never imagine feeling for anything, and certainly for no "thing" like a book. I wept for two hours afterward. And then I couldn't touch another written word for months. If ever words produced raw, overwhelming feelings, surely it is between the pages of The Gadfly.
Love/Politics/Fight all that and well written! Oct 5, 2005
Read this book for the first time in Russian when I was 12 and it had been my favorite book ever since. Was able to read it in the original language just some years later, realizing that: 1. The Russian translation is wonderful:) 2. The book is still my favorite one.
It's amazing how Voynish manages to write a book which countains a love story, yet not boring nor sexual, a fight story, yet not overpatriotic/stupid. The continuation book feets perfectly ("An Interrupited Friendship" and may be should be read between the 1st and the 2nd parts of "The Gadfly" (I read the "Interrupted Friendship" some years after "The Gadfly" and it was still perfect).
BTW, Ethel Lilian is a daughter of mr. Bool - for those of us who know what boolean algebra is - that's her father's doing! I know it's a piece of useless information:)
Profoundly moving Jan 3, 2005
One of the greatest stories ever told - this book can change your life if you take its ideals to heart. It's not hard to understand why it was so popular among those in the revolutionary movement. I have to say though that when I lent it to two young friends who are Catholic too, they did not seem to be as profoundly moved as I was. The closing scene between the Cardinal and the Gadfly is one of the most heart-wrenching ever written. This book is a classic of its time and of all time. In my top 10 list of the best books I have ever read. Grab it - BTW if anyone is looking for a copy I do have one to spare which is in fairly good condition.