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William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace ThackerayBorn: 18-Jul-1811
Birthplace: Calcutta, India
Died: 24-Dec-1863
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Kensal Green Cemetery, London, England

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Novelist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Vanity Fair

English novelist, only son of Richmond and Anne Thackeray (whose maiden name was Becher), was born at Calcutta on the 18th of July 1811. Both his father and his grandfather (W. R. Thackeray) had been Indian civil servants. His mother was only nineteen at the date of his birth, was left a widow in 1816, and afterwards married Major Henry Carmichael Smyth. Young Thackeray was brought home to England from India as a child, and was sent to private schools, first in Hampshire and then at Chiswick. In 1822 he was transferred to Charterhouse, at that time still on its ancient site near Smithfield. Anthony Trollope, in his book on Thackeray in the "English Men of Letters" series, quotes a letter written to him about Thackeray's schooldays by George Stovin Venables. "He came to school young", Venables wrote, "a pretty, gentle, and rather timid boy." This accords with the fact that all through Thackeray's writings the student may find traces of the sensitiveness which often belongs to the creative mind, and which, in the boy who does not understand its meaning and its possible power, is apt to assume the guise of a shrinking disposition. To this very matter Venables tersely referred in a later passage of the letter quoted by Trollope: "When I knew him better, in later years, I thought I could recognize the sensitive nature which he had as a boy." Another illustration of this idiosyncrasy is found in the statement, which will be recognized as exact by all readers of Thackeray, that "his change of retrospective feeling about his schooldays was very characteristic. In his earlier books he always spoke of the Charterhouse as Slaughter House and Smithfield. As he became famous and prosperous his memory softened, and Slaughter House was changed into Grey Friars, where Colonel Newcome ended his life." Even in the earlier references the bitterness which has often been so falsely read into Thackeray is not to be found. In "Mr. and Mrs. Frank Berry" (Men's Wives) there is a description of a fight at Slaughter House following on an incident almost identical with that used in Vanity Fair for the fight between Dobbin and Cuff. In both cases the brutality of school life, as it then was, is very fully recognized and described, but not to the exclusion of the chivalry which may go alongside with it. In the first chapter of "Mr. and Mrs. Frank Berry", Berry himself and old Hawkins both have a touch of the heroic, and in this story the bully whom Berry gallantly challenges is completely defeated, and one hears no more of him. In Vanity Fair Cuff the swaggerer is defeated as completely as is Berry's opponent, but regains his popularity by one well-timed stroke of magnanimity, and afterwards shows the truest kindness to his conqueror. Thackeray left Charterhouse in 1828 to join his mother and her husband at Larkbeare in Devonshire, near Ottery St. Mary. Ottery St. Mary is the "Clavering St. Mary", as Exeter and Sidmouth are respectively the "Chatteris" and "Baymouth" of Pendennis.

In February 1829 Thackeray went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and in that year contributed some engaging lines on "Timbuctoo", the subject for the Prize Poem (the prize for which was won in that year by Tennyson), to a little paper called The Snob, a title which Thackeray afterwards utilized in the famous Book of Snobs. The first stanza has become tolerably well known, but is worth quoting as an early instance of the direct comic force afterwards employed by the author in verse and prose burlesques:

In Africa -- a quarter of the world --
Men's skins are black; their hair is crisp and curled;
And somewhere there, unknown to public view,
A mighty city lies, called Timbuctoo.

One other passage at least in The Snob, in the form of a skit on a paragraph of fashionable intelligence, seems to bear traces of Thackeray's handiwork. At Cambridge, James Spedding, Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton), Edward FitzGerald, W. H. Thompson (afterwards Master of Trinity), and others who made their mark in later life, were among his friends. In 1830 he left Cambridge without taking a degree, and went to Weimar and to Paris. His visit to Weimar bore fruit in the keen sketches of life at a small German court which appear in Fitz-Boodle's Confessions and in Vanity Fair. In George Henry Lewes's Life of Goethe is a letter containing Thackeray's impressions of the German poet. On his return to England in 1831 he entered the Middle Temple. He did not care to pursue the study of the law, but he found in his experience of the Temple the material for some capital scenes in Pendennis. In 1832 he came of age, and inherited a sum which, according to Trollope, "seems to have amounted to about five hundred a year." The money was soon lost -- some in an Indian bank, some at play and some in two newspapers, The National Standard (with a long sub-title) and The Constitutional. In Lovel the Widower these two papers are indicated under one name as The Museum, in connection with which our friends Honeyman and Sherrick of The Newcomes are briefly brought in. Thackeray's adventures and losses at play were utilized in his literary work on three occasions, in "A Caution to Travellers" (The Paris Sketch-Book), in the first of the Deuceace narrations (The Memoirs of Mr. C. J. Yellowplush), and in Pendennis in a story (wherein Deuceace reappears) told to Captain Strong by "Colonel Altamont." As to Deuceace, Sir Theodore Martin has related how once in the playrooms at Spa Thackeray called his attention to a certain man and said presently, "That was the original of my Deuceace."

In 1834 or at the end of 1833 Thackeray established himself in Paris in order to study art seriously. He had, like Clive in The Newcomes, shown talent as a caricaturist from his early boyhood. His gift proved of great value to him in illustrating much of his own literary work in a fashion which, despite all incorrectness of draughtsmanship, conveyed vivid suggestions that could not have been so well given by anyone but himself. Perhaps his pencil was at its best technically in such fantastic work as is found constantly in the initial letters which he frequently used for chapters in his various kinds of work, and in those drawings made for the amusement of some child friends which were the origin of The Rose and the Ring.

In 1836 Thackeray married Isabella, daughter of Colonel Matthew Shawe. There were three daughters born of the marriage, one dying in infancy. The eldest daughter, Anne Isabella (b. 1837), married in 1877 Mr. Richmond Ritchie, of the India Office, who in 1907 was created a K.C.B. She inherited literary talent from her father and wrote several charming works of fiction, notably Miss Angel (1875), and subsequently edited Thackeray's works and published some volumes of criticism and reminiscences. The younger daughter, Harriet Marian (b. 1840), married (Sir) Leslie Stephen in 1867 and died in 1875. Thackeray's own family life was early broken, for Mrs. Thackeray, to quote Trollope, "became ill and her mind failed her", in 1840, and he "became as it were a widower to the end of his days"; Mrs. Thackeray did not die until 1892.

In 1837 Thackeray came to London, worked at various kinds of journalism, and became a regular contributor to Fraser's Magazine. In this in 1841 appeared The History of Mr. Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond, a work filled with instances of the wit, humor, satire, pathos, which found a more ordered if not a fresher expression in his later and longer works. For freshness, indeed, and for a fine perception which enables the author to perform among other feats that of keeping up throughout the story the curious simplicity of its supposed narrator's character, The Great Hoggarty Diamond can scarcely be surpassed. The characters, from Lady Drum, Lady Fanny Rakes, Lady Jane and Edmund Preston, to Brough, Mrs. and Miss Brough, Mrs. Roundhand, Gus Hoskins, and, by no means least, Samuel Titmarsh's aunt, Mrs. Hoggarty, with her store of "Rosolio", are full of life; the book is crammed with honest fun; and for pure pathos, the death of the child, and the meeting of the husband and wife over the empty cradle, stands, if not alone in its own line, at least in the company of very few such scenes in English fiction. The Great Hoggarty Diamond, oddly enough, met with the fate that afterwards befell one of Charles James Lever's best stories which appeared in a periodical week by week -- it had to be cut short at the bidding of the editor. In 1840 came out The Paris Sketch-Book, much of which had been written and published at an earlier date. The book contains among other things some curious divagations in criticism, along with some really fine critical work, and a very powerful sketch called "A Gambler's Death." In 1838 Thackeray had begun, in Fraser, The Yellowplush Papers, with their strange touches of humor, satire, tragedy (in one scene, the closing one of the history of Mr. Deuceace), and their sublimation of fantastic bad spelling (M'Arony for macaroni is one of the typical touches of this); and this was followed by Catherine, a strong story, and too disagreeable perhaps for its purpose, founded closely on the actual career of a criminal named Catherine Hayes, and intended to counteract the then growing practice of making ruffians and harlots prominent characters in fiction. Now, when Pendennis was coming out in serial form (1850), Miss Catherine Hayes, a singer of Irish birth and a famous prima donna (Sims Reeves described her as "the sweetest Lucia [di Lammermoor] he had ever sung with") was much before the public. A reflective passage in a number of Pendennis referred indignantly and scornfully to Catherine Hayes, the criminal of old time, coupling her name with that of a then recently notorious murderer. It would appear that Thackeray had for the moment, oddly enough, omitted to think of Miss Catherine Hayes, the justly famed soprano, while certain Irish folk were obviously ignorant or oblivious of the history of Catherine Hayes the murderess. Anyhow, there was a great outcry in the Irish press, and Thackeray was beset by private letters of indignation from enthusiastic compatriots of the prima donna. In deference to susceptibilities innocently outraged Thackeray afterwards suppressed the passage which had given offense. The thing is worth mention if only because it explains the initial letter drawn by Thackeray for chap. XV, vol. II, of Pendennis. The drawing is in itself highly comic, but must seem quite meaningless without the key.

There soon followed Fitz-Boodle's Confessions and Professions, including the series Men's Wives, already mentioned; and slightly before these, the Shabby Genteel Story, a work interrupted by Thackeray's domestic affliction and afterwards republished as an introduction to The Adventures of Philip, which took up the course of the original story many years after the supposed date of its catastrophe. In 1843 also came out the Irish Sketch-Book, and in 1844 appeared the account of the journey From Cornhill to Grand Cairo, in which was included the excellent poem of "The White Squall." In 1844 there began in Fraser the Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, called in the magazine "The Luck of Barry Lyndon, a Romance of the Last Century." "Barry Lyndon" has, with a very great difference in treatment, some resemblance to Tobias Smollett's "Ferdinand, Count Fathom" -- the hero, that is to say, is or becomes a most intolerable scoundrel, who is magnificently unconscious of his own iniquity. The form and pressure of the time depicted are caught with striking verisimilitude, and in the boyish career of Barry Lyndon there are fine touches of a wild chivalry, simplicity, generosity, which mingle naturally with those worse qualities that, under the influence of abominable training, afterwards corrupt his whole mind and career. The man is so infatuated with and so blind to his own roguery, he has so much dash and daring, and is on occasions so infamously treated, that it is not easy to look upon him as an entirely detestable villain until, towards the end of his course, be becomes wholly lost in brutish debauchery and cruelty. His latter career is founded on that of Andrew Robinson Stoney Bowes, who married the widow of John, 9th earl of Strathmore. There is also no doubt a touch of Casanova in Barry Lyndon's character. Thackeray became a contributor to Punch within the first year of its existence. John Leech, who was one of the earliest contributors, had been at Charterhouse with Thackeray and the two men were friends through life. Thackeray's first series contributed to Punch did not attain or indeed deserve signal success. He made his first hit with Jeames's Diary, begun in November 1845, and may be said to have established his reputation by the Snob Papers (1846), now better known as The Book of Snobs. These, besides greatly improving Thackeray's position, provoked much discussion of various kinds. Thackeray himself was naturally accused of being a snob. To this charge he had partly given an anticipatory answer (in the third chapter) in the statement that "it is impossible, in our condition of society, not to be sometimes a Snob", and in giving the name of "Mr. Snob" to the supposed historian of snobs throughout the series. Thackerays connection with Punch came practically to an end in 1851. The severance was due partly to differences in political opinion. His personal relations with the staff of Punch always remained cordial. Special mention may be made of one other contribution of his to the paper, "Punch's Prize Novelists", containing some brilliant parodies of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Charles James Lever, Benjamin Disraeli (in "Codlingsby", perhaps the most perfect of the series), and others. Among minor but admirable works of the same period are found A Legend of the Rhine (a burlesque of the great Dumas's Othon l'Archer), brought out in George Cruikshank's Table Book, edited by Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, Cox's Diary (on which has been founded a well-known Dutch comedy, Janus Tulp), and The Fatal Boots. This is the most fitting moment for naming also Rebecca and Rowena, which towers, not only over Thackeray's other burlesques, excellent as they are, but over every other burlesque of the kind ever written. Its taste, its wit, its pathos, its humor, are unmatchable; and it contains some of the best songs of a particular kind ever written -- songs rivalled only by Peacock's best of the same sort. In 1846 was published, by Bradbury and Evans, the first of twenty-four numbers of Vanity Fair, the work which first placed Thackeray in his proper position before the public as a novelist and writer of the first rank. It was completed in 1848, when Thackeray was thirty-seven years old; and in the same year Abraham Hayward paid a tribute to the author's powers in the Edinburgh Review. It is probable that on Vanity Fair has been largely based the foolish cry, now heard less and less frequently, about Thackeray's cynicism, a cry which he himself, with his keen knowledge of men, foresaw and provided against, amply enough as one might have thought, at the end of the eighth chapter, in a passage which is perhaps the best commentary ever written on the author's method. He has explained how he wishes to describe men and women as they actually are, good, bad and indifferent, and to claim a privilege.

"Occasionally to step down from the platform, and talk about them; if they are good and kindly, to love and shake them by the hand; if they are silly, to laugh at them confidentially in the readers sleeve; if they are wicked and heartless, to abuse them in the strongest terms politeness admits of. Otherwise you might fancy it was I who was sneering at the practice of devotion, which Miss Sharp finds so ridiculous; that it was I who laughed good-humoredly at the railing old Silenus of a baronet -- whereas the laughter comes from one who has no reverence except for prosperity, and no eye for anything beyond success. Such people there are living and flourishing in the world -- Faithless, Hopeless, Charityless: let us have at them, dear friends, with might and main. Some there are, and very successful too, mere quacks and fools; and it was to combat and expose such as those, no doubt, that laughter was made."

As to another accusation which was brought against the book when it first came out, that the colors were laid on too thick, in the sense that the villains were too villainous, the good people too goody-goody, the best and completest answer to that can be found by anyone who chooses to read the work with care. Osborne is, and is meant to be, a poor enough creature, but he is an eminently human being, and one whose poorness of character is developed as he allows bad influences to tell upon his vanity and folly. The good in him is fully recognized, and comes out in the beautiful passage describing his farewell to Amelia on the eve of Waterloo, in which passage may be also found a sufficient enough answer to the statement that Amelia is absolutely insipid and uninteresting. So with the companion picture of Rawdon Crawley's farewell to Becky Sharp: who that reads it can resist sympathy, in spite of Rawdon's vices and shady shifts for a living, with his simple bravery and devotion to his wife? As for Becky, a character that has since been imitated a host of times, there is certainly not much to be said in her defense. We know of her, to be sure, that she thought she would have found it easy to be good if she had been rich, and we know also what happened when Rawdon, released without her knowledge from a spunging-house, surprised her alone with and singing to Lord Steyne in the house in Mayfair. After a gross insult from Steyne, "Rawdon Crawley, springing out, seized him by the neckcloth, until Steyne, almost strangled, writhed and bent under his arm. 'You lie, you dog', said Rawdon; 'you lie, you coward and villain!' And he struck the peer twice over the face with his open hand, and flung him bleeding to the ground. It was all done before Rebecca could interpose. She stood there trembling before him. She admired her husband, strong, brave, and victorious." This admiration is, as Thackeray himself thought it, the capital touch in a scene which is as powerful as any Thackeray ever wrote -- as powerful, indeed, as any in English fiction. Its full merit, it may be noted in passing, has been curiously accented by an imitation of it in Alphonse Daudet's Fromont Jeune el Risler Ainé. As to the extent of the miserable Becky's guilt in the Steyne matter, Thackeray leaves it practically open to the reader to form what conclusion he will. There is, it should be added, a distinct touch of good in Becky's conduct to Amelia at Ostend in the last chapter of the book, and those who think that too little punishment is meted out to the brilliant adventuress in the end may remember this to her credit. It is supreme art in the treatment of her character that makes the reader understand and feel her attractiveness, though he knows her extraordinarily evil qualities; and in this no writer subsequent to Thackeray who has tried to depict one of the genus Becky Sharp has even faintly succeeded. Among the minor characters there is not one -- and this is not always the case even with Thackeray's chief figures -- who is incompletely or inconsistently depicted; and no one who wishes fully to understand and appreciate the book can afford to miss a word of it.

Vanity Fair was followed by Pendennis, Esmond and The Newcomes, which appeared respectively in 1850, 1852 and 1854. It might be more easy to pick holes critically in Pendennis than in Vanity Fair. Pendennis himself, after his boyish passion and university escapades, has disagreeable touches of flabbiness and worldliness; and the important episode of his relations with Fanny Bolton, which Thackeray could never have treated otherwise than delicately, is so lightly and tersely handled that it is a little vague even to those who read between the lines. It can hardly be said that there is adequate preparation for the final announcement that those relations have been innocent, and one can hardly see why it should have been so long delayed. This does not, of course, affect the value of the book as a picture of middle- and upper-class life of the time, the time when Vauxhall still existed, and the haunt for suppers and songs which Thackeray in this book called the Back Kitchen, and it is a picture filled with striking figures. In some of these, notably in that of Foker, Thackeray went, it is supposed, very close to actual life for his material, and in that particular case with a most agreeable result. As for the two "umbrae" of Lord Steyne, it is difficult to believe that they were intended as caricatures of two well-known persons. If they were, for once Thackeray's hand forgot its cunning. Here, as in the case of Amelia Sedley (Vanity Fair), the heroine has been thought a little insipid; and there may be good ground for finding Laura Pendennis dull, though she has a spirit of her own. In later books she becomes, what Thackeray's people very seldom are, a tiresome as well as an uninviting person. Costigan is unique, and so is Major Pendennis, a type which, allowing for differences of periods and manners, will exist as long as society exists, and which has been seized and depicted by Thackeray as by no other novelist. The Major's two encounters, from both of which he comes out victorious, one with Costigan in the first, the other with Morgan in the second volume, are true touches of genius. In opposition to the worldliness of the Major, with which Pendennis does not escape being tainted, we have Warrington, whose nobility of nature has come unscathed through a severe trial, and who, a thorough gentleman if a rough one, is really the guardian of Pendennis's career. There is, it should be noted, a characteristic and acknowledged confusion in the plot of Pendennis, which will not spoil any intelligent reader's pleasure.

Probably most readers of The Newcomes (1854) to whom the book is mentioned think first of the fine, chivalrous and simple figure of Colonel Newcome, who stands out in the relief of almost ideal beauty of character against the crowd of more or less imperfect and more or less base personages who move through the novel. At the same time, to say, as has been said, that this book "is full of satire from the first to the last page" is to convey an impression which is by no means just. There is plenty of kindliness in the treatment of the young men who, like Clive Newcome himself and Lord Kew, possess no very shining virtue beyond that of being honorable gentlemen; in the character of J. J. Ridley there is much tenderness and pathos, and no one can help liking the Bohemian "F.B.", and looking tolerantly on his failings. It may be that there is too close an insistence on the fiendish temper of Mrs. Mackenzie and on the sufferings she inflicts on the colonel; but it must be remembered that this heightens the singular pathos of the closing scenes of the colonel's life. It has seemed convenient to take The Newcomes after Pendennis, because Pendennis and his wife reappear in this book as in The Adventures of Philip; but Esmond (1852) was written and published before The Newcomes. To some students Esmond seems and will seem Thackeray's capital work. It has not been rivalled as a romance reproducing with unfailing interest and accuracy the figures, manners and phrases of a past time, and it is full of beautiful touches of character. But Beatrix, upon whom so much hinges, is an unpleasing character, although one understands fully why men were captivated by her insolent beauty and brilliancy; and there is some truth in Thackeray's own saying, that "Esmond was a prig." Apart from this, the story is, like the illusion of a past time in the narrative, so complete in all its details, so harmoniously worked out, that there is little room for criticism. As to Esmond's marriage with the lady whom he has served and loved as a boy, that is a matter for individual judgment. Beatrix, it has been indicated above, is wonderfully drawn: and not the least wonderful thing about her is her reappearance as the jaded, battered, worldly, not altogether unkindly, Baroness in The Virginians. It was just what Beatrix must have come to, and her decline is handled with the lightest and finest touch.

In 1851 Thackeray had written The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century, delivered as a series of lectures at Willis's Rooms in the same year, and re-delivered in the United States in 1852 and 1853, as was afterwards the series called The Four Georges. Both sets were written for the purpose of lecturing. In 1854 was published a most delightful burlesque, The Rose and the Ring, whereof the origin has already been mentioned. In 1857 Thackeray stood unsuccessfully as a parliamentary candidate for Oxford against Mr. Cardwell, and in the same year appeared the first number of The Virginians, a sequel to Esmond. This is a most unequal work -- inferior, as sequels are apt to be, to Esmond as an historical romance, less compact and coherent, prone to divagation and desultoriness, yet charming enough in its lifelikeness, in the wit and wisdom of its reflections, and, as has been said, in its portrait of Beatrix grown old. The last number of The Virginians came out in 1859, and in the same year Thackeray undertook the editorship of the Cornhill Magazine. This was a task which, as readers of his Roundabout Paper "Thorns in the Cushion" will remember, the kindliness and sensitiveness of his disposition made irksome to him, and he resigned the editorship in April 1862, though he continued to write for the magazine until he died. In the Cornhill appeared from his pen Lovel the Widower, previously written, with different names for some of the personages, in dramatic form; The Adventures of Philip (1861-62); the Roundabout Papers; and (1860-63) the story, unhappily never finished, called Denis Duval. Lovel the Widower, changed from the dramatic to the narrative form, remains a piece of high comedy in which the characters are indicated rather than fully worked out, with a bold and practised touch. The Roundabout Papers, a small storehouse of some of Thackeray's best qualities as an essayist, came out in the Cornhill Magazine simultaneously with Lovel the Widower and with The Adventures of Philip. Among these papers is one differing in form from the rest, called "The Notch on the Axe -- a Story à la Mode." It is an almost perfect specimen of the author's genius for burlesque storytelling; but it contains an odd instance, which a careful reader will not fail to discover, of that odd habit of inaccuracy of which Thackeray himself was conscious. The Adventures of Philip is, as has been before said, in the nature of a sequel to or a completion of A Shabby Genteel Story. As with the other direct sequel, it is a work of great inequality. It contains scenes of humor, pathos, satire, which rank with Thackeray's best work; some old friends from others of the novels make brief but pleasant reappearances in its pages; there are fine sketches of journalistic, artistic and diplomatic life, and the scene from the last-named in Paris is inimitable. The Little Sister is altogether delightful; the Twysden family are terribly true and vastly diverting; the minor characters, among whom old Ridley, "J.J.'s" father, should be mentioned, are wonderfully hit off; nor did Thackeray ever write a better scene than that of the quarrel between Bunch, Baynes and M'Whirter in the Paris pension. Philip himself is impossible; one cannot say that the character is ill-drawn -- it is not drawn at all. It is an entirely different personage in different chapters; and it has here and there a very unpleasant touch which may perhaps have come of rapid writing. Yet so admirable are many parts of the book that Philip cannot be left out of the list of Thackeray's most considerable works. Denis Duval, which reached only three numbers, promised to be a first-rate work, more or less in the Esmond manner. The author died while it was in progress, on the day before Christmas day 1863. He was buried in Kensal Green, and a bust by Marochetti was put up to his memory in Westminster Abbey.

Little has yet been said of Thackeray's performances in poetry. They formed a small but not the least significant part of his life's work. The grace and the apparent spontaneity of his versification are beyond question. Some of the more serious efforts, such as "The Chronicle of the Drum" (1841), are full of power, and instinct with true poetic feeling. Both the half-humorous, half-pathetic ballads and the wholly extravagant ones must be classed with the best work in that kind; and the translations from Béranger are as good as verse translations can be. Thackeray had the true poetic instinct, and proved it by writing poetry which equalled his prose in grace and feeling.

There can be little doubt that Thackeray will always be ranked among the foremost English writers of fiction, or that his more infrequent work as essayist and poet will go hand in hand with his wider achievements as a novelist. Many attempts have been made at many times to institute a comparison between Thackeray and Charles Dickens as novelists. In truth it would be as much to the purpose, to borrow a homely metaphor, to compare chalk with cheese. The two authors were so radically different in their purviews, in their modes of thought, in their methods of expression, that critical comparison between them is of its nature absolutely unprofltable. It is better to recognize simply that the two novelists stood, each in his own way, distinctly above even their most distinguished contemporaries. As to preference, that is a matter with which criticism has nothing, and individual inclination has everything, to do.

Father: Richmond Thackeray (executive with the East India Co., d. 1815)
Mother: Anne Becher
Wife: (m. France, three daughters)
Daughter: (d. 1839 infancy)
Daughter: Lady Ritchie
Girlfriend: Jane Brookfield ("platonic", ended 1851 by Henry Brookfield)

    High School: Charterhouse, London (1822-)
    University: Trinity College, Cambridge University (1828-30, no degree)

    Athenaeum Club (London)
    Proxy Baptism: Mormon St. George, UT (Aug-1877)

Is the subject of books:
Thackeray, 1955–58, BY: Gordon N. Ray, DETAILS: (2 vols.)

Author of books:
Vanity Fair (1847-48, novel)
The Book of Snobs (1848, articles)
The History of Pendennis (1848–50, novel)
The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (1852, novel)
The English Humorists of the 18th Century (1853)
The Newcomes (1853–55, novel)
The Four Georges (1855–56)
Miscellanies (1855–57, articles, 4 vols.)
The Rose and the Ring (1855)
The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon (1856, novel)
The Virginians (1857–59, novel)
Lovel the Widower (1860, novel)
The Adventures of Philip (1861–62, novel)


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