|Dimensions||14 × 20 × 5 cm|
Bound in full tree calf. Gilt decoration, banding and title on the spine. Gilt edging on both boards. Bindings by Riviere & Son. All edges have blue marbling to match the past-downs. Dimensions are for one volume.
F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.
A really superb collection in near mint condition, worthy of the best of libraries.
William Makepeace Thackeray (18 July 1811 – 24 December 1863) was a British novelist, author and illustrator. He is known for his satirical works, particularly his 1848 novel Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of British society, and the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon, which was adapted for a 1975 film by Stanley Kubrick.
Thackeray was born in Calcutta, British India, and was sent to England after his father’s death in 1815. He studied at various schools and briefly attended Trinity College, Cambridge, before leaving to travel Europe. Thackeray squandered much of his inheritance on gambling and unsuccessful newspapers. He turned to journalism to support his family, primarily working for Fraser’s Magazine, The Times, and Punch. His wife Isabella suffered from mental illness, leaving Thackeray a de facto widower. Thackeray gained fame with his novel Vanity Fair and produced several other notable works. He unsuccessfully ran for Parliament in 1857 and edited the Cornhill Magazine in 1860. Thackeray’s health declined due to excessive eating, drinking, and lack of exercise. He died from a stroke at the age of fifty-two.
Thackeray began as a satirist and parodist, gaining popularity through works that showcased his fondness for roguish characters. He is best known for Vanity Fair, featuring Becky Sharp, and The Luck of Barry Lyndon. Thackeray’s early works were marked by savage attacks on high society, military prowess, marriage, and hypocrisy, often written under various pseudonyms. His writing career began with satirical sketches like The Yellowplush Papers. Thackeray’s later novels, such as Pendennis and The Newcomes, reflected a mellowing in his tone, focusing on the coming of age of characters and critical portrayals of society. 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 satirizes 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.
Indian popular Marathi politician Bal Thackeray’s father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray was an admirer of William, the India-born British writer; Keshav later changed his surname from Panvelkar to “Thackeray”.
Charlotte Brontë dedicated the second edition of Jane Eyre to Thackeray.
In 1887 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 1860s. It is now the location of the Israeli Embassy.
Thackeray’s former home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, is now a restaurant named after the author.
Thackeray was also a member of the Albion Lodge of the Ancient Order of Druids at Oxford.
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