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The Folly Of Eustace 1896   By: (1864-1950)

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The literary gem, published in 1896, The Folly of Eustace by Robert Smythe Hichens, presents a mesmerizing narrative that captivates readers from cover to cover. Set against the backdrop of Victorian society, Hichens skillfully weaves a tale of moral dilemmas, unrequited love, and the blinding allure of material wealth.

The story revolves around the life of Eustace, a young, ambitious artist who becomes smitten with the radiant and enigmatic Anne D'Estass. Eustace's infatuation with her begins a series of events that challenge his own values and force him to navigate the treacherous waters of his emotions. Hichens does an exceptional job of developing the characters, building their personas layer by layer, and providing an intimate view of their inner struggles.

One of the novel's most intriguing aspects is the portrayal of Victorian society's obsession with wealth and social status. Through his richly detailed descriptions of opulent parties, extravagant balls, and luxurious lifestyles, Hichens reveals the hollowness at the core of this seemingly glamorous world. His depiction of characters driven solely by ambition and material gain serves as a poignant critique of the era's societal values.

What sets this novel apart is Hichens' exquisite writing style. His prose is lyrical and poetic, painting vivid pictures in the reader's mind. The author's acute attention to detail adds depth and authenticity to the story, immersing readers in the sights, sounds, and emotions of 19th-century England. This attention to detail also extends to Eustace's artistic journey, providing a fascinating exploration of the creative process and the role of art in society.

While the novel delves into weighty themes, such as the nature of love, the consequences of selfishness, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment, Hichens masterfully balances these with moments of lightness and humor. The dialogue between characters is witty and engaging, creating a dynamic reading experience that keeps readers eagerly turning the pages.

Despite its age, The Folly of Eustace remains relevant to this day - a testament to Hichens' skill and understanding of human nature. The novel prompts readers to reflect upon the choices they make, the values they hold dear, and the true meaning of happiness. Hichens delivers a powerful message that penetrates the soul, reminding us of the folly that lies in pursuing empty aspirations while neglecting the riches of the heart.

The Folly of Eustace is a literary treasure that should not be overlooked. Robert Smythe Hichens' remarkable storytelling ability, coupled with his incisive social commentary, makes this novel a captivating read that stands the test of time. A thought-provoking journey through the depths of human experience, it serves as a reminder to all that true fulfillment lies not in material possessions, but in the authenticity of one's relationships and the pursuit of meaningful passions.

First Page:


By R. S. Hichens



Some men deliberately don a character in early youth as others don a mask before going to an opera ball. They select it not without some care, being guided in their choice by the opinion they have formed of the world's mind and manner of proceeding. In the privacy of the dressing room, the candles being lighted and the mirror adjusted at the best angle for a view of self, they assume their character, and peacock to their reflection, meditating: Does it become me? Will it be generally liked? Will it advance me towards my heart's desire? Then they catch up their cloak, twist the mirror back to its usual position, puff out the candles, and steal forth into their career, shutting the door gently behind them. And, perhaps till they are laid out in the grave, the last four walls enclosing them, only the dressing room could tell their secret. And it has no voice to speak. For, if they are wise, they do not keep a valet.

At the age of sixteen Eustace Lane chose his mask, lit the candles, tried it on, and resolved to wear it at the great masquerade. He was an Eton boy at the time. One fourth of June he was out in the playing fields, paying polite attentions to another fellow's sister, when he overheard a fragment of a conversation that was taking place between his mother and one of the masters... Continue reading book >>

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