The Amateur Gentleman
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 a talking film in 1936 with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 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 boxing champion 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. They settle their differences in a round of fisticuffs, which Barnabas wins, beating his father fair and square. Barnabas sets off for London to further his ambitions and, on the way there, contrives to make a number of influential friends and enemies.
Farnol exploits the naïvety of the youth for comic effect. For instance, Barnabas is gulled by the chapman who sells him a book on etiquette at an outrageous mark-up. At the other end of the spectrum, Farnol is equally disdainful of Barnabas' sophisticated concealment of his identity.
- The Amateur Gentleman: a Romance
- Author: Jeffery Farnol
- Editor: Low, Marston, 1913
- 599 pages
- (in French) The Amateur Gentleman website dedicated to Sidney Olcott