William Makepeace Thackeray

 

 

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 -1863) was an English novelist of the 19th century. He was famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society.

Even before Vanity Fair was published, Thackeray had become a celebrity, sought after by the very lords and ladies he satirized; they hailed him as the equal of Dickens.

He remained "at the top of the tree", as he put it, for the remaining decade and a half of his life, producing several large novels, notably Pendennis,The Newcomes, and The History of Henry Esmond, despite various illnesses.

Thackeray is most often compared to one other great novelist of Victorian literature, Charles Dickens. During the Victorian era, he was ranked second only to Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair. In that novel he was able to satirize whole swaths of humanity while retaining a light touch. It also features his most memorable character, the engagingly roguish Becky Sharp. As a result, unlike Thackeray's other novels, it remains popular with the general reading public; it is a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly adapted for movies and television.

 "This I set as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities, and without a positive hump, may marry whom she likes." (from Vanity Fair)

 “The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice." (from Vanity Fair).

 'Tis not the dying for a faith that's so hard, Master Harry--every man of every nation has done that--'tis the living up to it that is difficult, as I know to my cost..” (from Henry Esmond)

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From LibriVox:

1.  Vanity Fair - Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray that satirizes society in early 19th-century England. Like many novels of the time, Vanity Fair was published as a serial before being sold in book form; it was printed in 20 monthly parts between January 1847 and July 1848. Thackeray meant the book to be not only entertaining but also instructive; this is shown both by the narrator of the book and in Thackeray's private correspondence. The novel is now remembered as a classic of English literature, though some critics claim that it has structural problems; Thackeray sometimes lost track of the huge scope of his work, mixing up characters' names and minor plot details. The number of allusions and references it contains can make it difficult for modern readers to follow.

2.  The History of Henry Esmond - A classic Victorian novel and a historical novel rolled into one! Read about court and army life during the reign of Queen Anne - a story of Catholic - Protestant intrigue, and the party which aspired to the restoration of Bonny Prince Charlie. And, a good love story as well. 

3.  The Book of Snobs - The necessity of a work on Snobs, demonstrated from History, and proved by felicitous illustrations:—I am the individual destined to write that work—My vocation is announced in terms of great eloquence—I show that the world has been gradually preparing itself for the WORK and the MAN—Snobs are to be studied like other objects of Natural Science, and are a part of the Beautiful (with a large B). They pervade all classes—Affecting instance of Colonel Snobley.

4.  The Painter’s Bargain   (5th story from LibriVox Horror Stories 005)

5On University Snobs  (18th story from Coffee Break 001)

6.  On Being Found Out  (15th story from Library of the Worlds Best Mystery Stories - Vol 3)

7.  On Being Found Out, (12th story from Lock and Key Library)

8.  The Notch on the Ax (part 1),   (13th  story from Lock and Key Library)

9.  The Notch on the Ax (part 2),   (14th  story from Lock and Key Library)

10. The Virginians - It tells the story of Henry Esmond's twin grandsons, George and Henry Warrington. Henry's romantic entanglements with an older woman lead up to his taking a commission in the British army and fighting under the command of General Wolfe at the capture of Quebec. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence he takes the revolutionary side. George, who is also a British officer, thereupon resigns his commission rather than take up arms against his brother.

11. Mr. Deuceace: Diamond Cut Diamond by William Thackeray (4th story from International Short Stories # 2) 

12.  The Rose And The Ring - Victorian social satire hiding in a set of children's fairy tales by the author of the classic "Vanity Fair"