Works of William Makepeace Thackeray

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William Makepeace Thackeray Annotated Bibliography & Selected Collectible Books

Thackeray now felt that he and Dickens were battling for king of the novelists' hill, though he would never equal Dickens's popularity, except with the critics. The novel is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman that draws on, among other things, Thackeray's disappointments in college, ambivalent relation with his mother, and insider's knowledge of the London publishing world.

In , The History of Henry Esmond was published as a 3-volume novel without first being serialized and with special type meant to imitate the appearance of an eighteenth-century book. This was the most carefully planned of Thackeray's novels, and for it he did a considerable amount of historical research. The book was celebrated for its brilliance, and Thackeray recognized it as "the very best I can do. At the time, it caused a sensation thanks to its controversial ending, wherein the hero marries a woman who early in the novel seemed a "mother" to him.

During these years of success, Thackeray lived virtually a bachelor life in London, even though now he had his daughters and grandmother with him. He spent much time with friends, enlivening the weekly staff dinners for Punch , attending the social functions of a fashionable society hitherto closed to him, and becoming the constant attendant on Jane Brookfield, the wife of an old friend from Cambridge.

Thackeray and the Brookfields were involved in an increasingly tense emotional triangle, until his first trip to America in provided the time and distance for Thackeray to extricate himself emotionally.


William Brookfield's coldness and peremptory desire to dominate his wife, her resistance and the accompanying need for someone to turn to, and Thackeray's loneliness and characteristic susceptibility to a fascinating woman combined to create a complicated affair. A curate who was disappointed in his wish for advancement in the Church, Brookfield alternately ignored or forbade his wife's warm communications with the successful novelist.

Jane returned Thackeray's ardent expressions of friendship, lamented her husband's inability to understand her, and then surprised her platonic lover by getting pregnant by the husband she supposedly had no sympathy for. Thackeray, for his part, professed for the wife a devotion that was pure and remained a companion of the husband, but nonetheless felt betrayed by Jane's tendency to cool down the correspondence when Brookfield complained.

Thackeray eventually caused a dramatic break in these arrangements by berating Brookfield for his neglectful treatment of his wife. The curate packed up his household for a vacation in Madeira, and, by the time Thackeray heard of Jane's second pregnancy, during his own trip to America, he had decided never to return to the vassalage he had endured for seven years.

Thackeray followed in Dickens's footsteps with a lecturing tour of America.

William Makepeace Thackeray

A reprise of his tour of the British Isles speaking on The English Humourists , these lectures were profitable for Thackeray and also provided influential--if now exploded--views of both Swift and Sterne. Thackeray saw America through the eyes of friendly hosts, and he was more careful not to offend than Dickens had been, choosing, for instance, not to write a profitable account of his journey.

Thackeray was also more tolerant of slavery--he wrote home to his mother that he did not recognize blacks as equals, though he did condemn the institution on moral grounds. Susceptible to criticism from his hosts that the living conditions for English workers were worse than those for slaves, he chose to believe at least on this first tour that the whipping of slaves was rare and that families were not normally separated on the auction block. Thackeray made enduring friendships during his trip, most significantly with the Baxter family of New York. The eldest daughter, Sally, enchanted the novelist--as a number of vibrant, intelligent, beautiful young women had done before her--and she became the model for Ethel Newcome.

He visited her on his second tour of the States when she was married to a South Carolina gentleman, and he lamented her sad life when she sat alone in Charleston, dying of tuberculosis, after the outbreak of the Civil War. The panoramic novel The Newcomes --one of the books Henry James called "loose, baggy monsters"--brought Thackeray back to both novel-writing after more than a year off and his own century, as well as to the social satire of Vanity Fair.

The main targets of this novel are snobbery and mercenary marriages. He also brought out in his most enduring Christmas book, the fairy tale The Rose and the Ring , which he called a "Fireside Pantomime. After a second profitable lecturing tour on The Four Georges that is, the Hanoverian kings of the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries , Thackeray stood for Parliament as an independent and was defeated when a well-known politician was substituted for the man he thought he was to run against.

Thackeray believed his advocacy of entertainment on the Sabbath was also crucial in his defeat. In , he published The Virginians , a novel set before and during the American Revolution, which is a sequel to Henry Esmond , and which Thackeray intended as a fond tribute to the country where he made a number of friends--though he inadvertently angered some particularly patriotic Americans with his mild but not-especially-heroic portrait of George Washington.

The novel is noteworthy for the problems Thackeray had with the plot, its action being repeatedly forstalled by narrative intrusions, and the Revolutionary War being postponed till the book is almost over. In place of the action are Thackeray's philosophical meditations on the staleness of novel plots--in effect, a radical questioning of the value of fiction--and other problems of representation. Of the several literary quarrels in which Thackeray had engaged during his life, the "Garrick Club affair" was to be the best known, for though he and Dickens had scuffled over the "Dignity of Literature" and other minor disagreements often exacerbated by the interference of John Forster , this fight caused a breach in their friendship that almost lasted to the end of Thackeray's life--it was healed only in his last months, through a surprise meeting and handshake on the steps of a London club.

Thackeray had taken offense at some personal remarks in a column by Edmund Yates and demanded an apology, eventually taking the affair to the Garrick Club committee. Already upset with Thackeray for an indiscreet remark about his affair with Ellen Ternan , Dickens championed Yates, helping him to write letters both to Thackeray and, in his defense, to the club's committee. He twice visited the United States on lecture tours during this period.

Thackeray also gave lectures in London on the English humorists of the eighteenth century, and on the first four Hanoverian monarchs.

William Makepeace Thackeray | British author |

The latter series was published in book form as The Four Georges. In Thackeray became editor of the newly established Cornhill Magazine , [11] but he was never comfortable in the role, preferring to contribute to the magazine as the writer of a column called "Roundabout Papers". Thackeray's health worsened during the s and he was plagued by a recurring stricture of the urethra that laid him up for days at a time. He also felt that he had lost much of his creative impetus.

He worsened matters by excessive eating and drinking, and avoiding exercise, though he enjoyed riding he kept a horse. He has been described as "the greatest literary glutton who ever lived". His main activity apart from writing was "guttling and gorging". On 23 December , after returning from dining out and before dressing for bed, he suffered a stroke. He was found dead in his bed the following morning. His death at the age of fifty-two was entirely unexpected, and shocked his family, his friends and the reading public. An estimated 7, people attended his funeral at Kensington Gardens.

Thackeray began as a satirist and parodist, writing works that displayed a sneaking fondness for roguish upstarts such as Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair , and the title characters of The Luck of Barry Lyndon and Catherine. In his earliest works, written under such pseudonyms as Charles James Yellowplush, Michael Angelo Titmarsh and George Savage Fitz-Boodle, he tended towards savagery in his attacks on high society, military prowess, the institution of marriage and hypocrisy.

One of his earliest works, "Timbuctoo" , contains a burlesque upon the subject set for the Cambridge Chancellor's Medal for English Verse the contest was won by Tennyson with "Timbuctoo". Thackeray's writing career really began with a series of satirical sketches now usually known as The Yellowplush Papers , which appeared in Fraser's Magazine beginning in Between May and February Fraser's published the work sometimes considered Thackeray's first novel, Catherine.

Originally intended as a satire of the Newgate school of crime fiction, it ended up being more of a picaresque tale. He also began work, never finished, on the novel later published as A Shabby Genteel Story. Thackeray is probably best known now for Vanity Fair. In contrast, his large novels from the period after Vanity Fair , which were once described by Henry James as examples of "loose baggy monsters", have largely faded from view, perhaps because they reflect a mellowing in Thackeray, who had become so successful with his satires on society that he seemed to lose his zest for attacking it.

These later works include Pendennis , a Bildungsroman depicting the coming of age of Arthur Pendennis, an alter ego of Thackeray, who also features as the narrator of two later novels, The Newcomes and The Adventures of Philip. The Newcomes is noteworthy for its critical portrayal of the "marriage market," while Philip is known for its semi-autobiographical depiction of Thackeray's early life, in which he partially regains some of his early satirical power. Also notable among the later novels is The History of Henry Esmond , in which Thackeray tried to write a novel in the style of the eighteenth century, a period that held great appeal for him.

About this novel, there have been found evident analogies—in the fundamental structure of the plot; in the psychological outlines of the main characters; in frequent episodes; and in the use of metaphors—to Ippolito Nievo 's "Confessions of an Italian". Not only Esmond but also Barry Lyndon and Catherine are set in that period, as is the sequel to Esmond , The Virginians , which takes place in North America and includes George Washington as a character who nearly kills one of the protagonists in a duel. Thackeray's father, Richmond Thackeray, was born at South Mimms and went to India in at age sixteen as a writer civil servant with the East India Company.

Richmond's father's name was also William Makepeace Thackeray.

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Such liaisons were common among gentlemen of the East India Company, and it formed no bar to his later courting and marrying William's mother. Thackeray's mother, Anne Becher born , was "one of the reigning beauties of the day" and a daughter of John Harmon Becher, Collector of the South 24 Parganas district d. Calcutta, , of an old Bengal civilian family "noted for the tenderness of its women". Anne Becher, her sister Harriet and their widowed mother, also Harriet, had been sent back to India by her authoritarian guardian grandmother, Ann Becher, in on the Earl Howe.

Anne's grandmother had told her that the man she loved, Henry Carmichael-Smyth, an ensign in the Bengal Engineers whom she met at an Assembly Ball in in Bath , had died, while he was told that Anne was no longer interested in him. Neither of these assertions was true. Though Carmichael-Smyth was from a distinguished Scottish military family, Anne's grandmother went to extreme lengths to prevent their marriage. Surviving family letters state that she wanted a better match for her granddaughter. Their only child, William, was born on 18 July Anne's family's deception was unexpectedly revealed in , when Richmond Thackeray unwittingly invited the supposedly dead Carmichael-Smyth to dinner.

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The couple moved to England in , after having sent William off to school there more than three years earlier. The separation from his mother had a traumatic effect on the young Thackeray, which he discussed in his essay "On Letts's Diary" in The Roundabout Papers. Thackeray is an ancestor of the British financier Ryan Williams, and is the great-great-great-grandfather of the British comedian Al Murray [20] and author Joanna Nadin.

William Makepeace Thackeray

During the Victorian era Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens , but he is now much less widely read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair , which has become a fixture in university courses, and has been repeatedly adapted for the cinema and television.

In Thackeray's own day some commentators, such as Anthony Trollope , ranked his History of Henry Esmond as his greatest work, perhaps because it expressed Victorian values of duty and earnestness, as did some of his other later novels. It is perhaps for this reason that they have not survived as well as Vanity Fair , which satirises those values. Thackeray saw himself as writing in the realistic tradition, and distinguished his work from the exaggerations and sentimentality of Dickens. Some later commentators have accepted this self-evaluation and seen him as a realist, but others note his inclination to use eighteenth-century narrative techniques, such as digressions and direct addresses to the reader, and argue that through them he frequently disrupts the illusion of reality.

The school of Henry James , with its emphasis on maintaining that illusion, marked a break with Thackeray's techniques. In the Royal Society of Arts unveiled a blue plaque to commemorate Thackeray at the house at 2 Palace Green, London, that had been built for him in the s. Thackeray's former home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, is now a restaurant named after the author. The Christmas Books. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses with the name Thackeray, see Thackeray disambiguation. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. It has also been adapted for television and the screen numerous times, with a black and white silent version in Just a few years later his father died, his mother remarried, and the shy and retreating young William was sent to England where he would deal with the harsh realities of isolation and bullying at Charterhouse, a private school in London.

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He then went on to attend Trinity College, Cambridge, then studied law at the Middle Temple school, but soon after went to Paris to unsuccessfully try his hand at painting. Back in England and suffering massive financial losses, Thackeray started writing articles, reviews, essays and sketches as a journalist.

VANITY FAIR: William Makepeace Thackeray - FULL AudioBook: Part 3/4

Travel articles about France such as his Paris Sketch Book and The Yellowplush Correspondence were among his first efforts appearing in various magazines and journals including Fraser's , Punch , and The Times. He also illustrated many of his own works. After the birth of Harriet, Isabella started on what was to be, until her death, numerous bouts of depression, an extensive search for a cure, and ultimately a slow spiral to insanity. She would live apart from William, rarely seeing him or her daughters. Ever the doting father, Thackeray remained close to his daughters all his life.

Anne was his secretary for a while and they both lived with him at his house in London before marrying.

Works of William Makepeace Thackeray Works of William Makepeace Thackeray
Works of William Makepeace Thackeray Works of William Makepeace Thackeray
Works of William Makepeace Thackeray Works of William Makepeace Thackeray
Works of William Makepeace Thackeray Works of William Makepeace Thackeray
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