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The English Humourists by William Makepeace Thackeray


The English Humourists by William Makepeace Thackeray

About the Author

William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta on 18 July 1811, into a family that had long ties to India. His father died when he was four and his mother remarried. At the age of six, the young Thackeray was sent to school in England. His education concluded in a typical gentlemanly fashion, when he left Cambridge in 1830 without taking his degree after incurring large gambling debts.

Thackeray found it hard to settle down and made abortive efforts to pursue a career as a lawyer and then as an artist. He lost his fortune and spent long periods in Paris from 1833 without establishing himself. His marriage to Isabella Shawe in 1836 further increased his money problems. Gradually, however, he made his mark in journalism, and by 1840 he had started to publish fiction as well as travel sketches and social observation. In the same year he suffered another setback when his wife became mentally disturbed. Eventually, she had to be confined to an institution, leaving him with two young daughters to look after. In 1847-8 he made his reputation when Vanity Fair appeared in monthly parts. Later works included Pendennis (1848-50) and the historical novel The Virginians (1857-9), which at the time was regarded as superior to Vanity Fair. Thackeray was a popular lecturer on eighteenth-century subjects and also editor of the Cornhill Magazine from 1859. He died at the age of fifty-two on Christmas Eve, 1863.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st December 2002


William Makepeace Thackeray

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University Press of the Pacific


Paperback / softback
304 pages


Biography: literary



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