* illustrated with hundreds of images, relating to Thackeray’s life and works
* annotated with concise introductions to the novels and other texts
* images of how the monthly serials first appeared, giving your eReader a taste of the original Victorian texts
* ALL 12 novels, many with their original illustrations
* even includes the rare unfinished novel ‘A Shabby Genteel Story’
* also includes the rare novels ‘Lovel the Widower’, ‘Adventures of Philip’ and the unfinished novel ‘Denis Duval’
* ALL of the short stories and novellas, with excellent formatting
* even INCLUDES Thackeray’s poetry, essays and Punch articles
* ALL of the travel writing and sketches, with many illustrations
* includes Trollope’s biography of Thackeray
* scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
* master table of contents to allow easy navigation around Thackeray’s immense oeuvre.
* includes Thackeray’s Collected Letters from 1847-1855
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A SHABBY GENTEEL STORY
THE LUCK OF BARRY LYNDON
THE HISTORY OF PENDENNIS
THE HISTORY OF HENRY ESMOND, ESQ.
THE ADVENTURES OF PHILIP
LOVEL THE WIDOWER
The Shorter Fiction
THE YELLOWPLUSH PAPERS
THE TREMENDOUS ADVENTURES OF MAJOR GAHAGAN
THE FATAL BOOTS
THE BEDFORD-ROW CONSPIRACY
THE HISTORY OF SAMUEL TITMARSH AND THE GREAT HOGGARTY DIAMOND
THE FITZ-BOODLE PAPERS
THE DIARY OF C. JEAMES DE LA PLUCHE, ESQ. WITH HIS LETTERS
A LEGEND OF THE RHINE
A LITTLE DINNER AT TIMMINS’S
REBECCA AND ROWENA
The Christmas Books
MRS. PERKINS’S BALL
DOCTOR BIRCH AND HIS YOUNG FRIENDS
THE KICKLEBURYS ON THE RHINE
THE ROSE AND THE RING
The Sketches and Satires
CONTRIBUTIONS TO “THE SNOB”
FLORE ET ZEPHYR
THE IRISH SKETCH BOOK
THE BOOK OF SNOBS
SOME ROUNDABOUT PAPERS
DICKENS IN FRANCE
SKETCHES AND TRAVELS IN LONDON
MR. BROWN’S LETTERS
THE WOLVES AND THE LAMB
LIST OF THE COMPLETE POETRY
The Travel Writing
NOTES OF A JOURNEY FROM CORNHILL TO GRAND CAIRO
THE PARIS SKETCH BOOK
LITTLE TRAVELS AND ROADSIDE SKETCHES
NOVELS BY EMINENT HANDS
THE HISTORY OF THE NEXT FRENCH REVOLUTION
THE SECOND FUNERAL OF NAPOLEON
JOHN LEECH’S PICTURES OF LIFE AND CHARACTER
THE ENGLISH HUMOURISTS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
THE FOUR GEORGES
A LECTURE ON “CHARITY AND HUMOUR”
VARIOUS ESSAYS, LETTERS, SKETCHES, ETC.
THE HISTORY OF DIONYSIUS DIDDLER.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO PUNCH
MISS TICKLETOBY’S LECTURES ON ENGLISH HISTORY
PAPERS BY THE FAT CONTRIBUTOR
MISCELLANEOUS CONTRIBUTIONS TO “PUNCH”
“SPEC” AND “PROSER” PAPERS
A PLAN FOR A PRIZE NOVEL
A COLLECTION OF LETTERS 1847-1855
THACKERAY BY ANTHONY TROLLOPE
In Memoriam W. M. Thackeray by Charles Dickens
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--Robert Louis Stevenson
"The lasting and universal popularity of The Three Musketeers shows that Dumas, by artlessly expressing his own nature in the persons of his heroes, was responding to that craving for action, strength and generosity which is a fact in all periods and all places."
"Re-reading Vanity Fair, one realises what a brilliant innovation this was in the English novel," remarked V. S. Pritchett. "Thackeray is like the modern novelists who derive from James and Proust, in his power of dissecting (and of desiccating!) character."
Generally considered to be his masterpiece, Vanity Fair is Thackeray's resplendent social satire that exposes the greed and corruption raging in England during the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars. Subtitled "A Novel Without a Hero," it traces the changing fortunes of two unforgettable women: the scheming opportunist Becky Sharp—one of literature's most resourceful, engaging, and amoral heroines—and her foil, the faithful, naive Amelia Sedley. Thackeray's subversive, comic attack on the hypocrisy and "dismal roguery" of an avaricious world resonates 150 years later with implications for our own times.
"Thackeray is an urbane nineteenth-century guide and commentator in a portrait gallery that is for all time," observed Louis Auchincloss. "He is the restless inhabitant of a prudish age, nostalgic, discursive, anecdotal, sentimental, worldly-wise, now warning us, now making fun of us, now reproving us .... Thackeray's harshest criticism of humanity is simply the point where ours commences. His perception of self-interest in every act is the ABC of modem psychology."
Before the Real Housewives, there were Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley. Ruthless and cunning, Becky may have been born in a lower class, but now that she’s graduated from school, she’s ready to climb up to a better life—and do whatever it takes to get there. Her friend Emmy, however, is the opposite. She may have mastered music, dancing, and embroidery like any young woman of her class, but she utterly lacks a backbone.
Together these friends navigate the perils of Regency society as they search for love and happiness. Social battles are waged against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and when the smoke finally clears, there’s no telling who will come out victorious.
A satirical masterpiece, Vanity Fair was #14 on The Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Novels and #122 in the BBC’s “Big Read” poll for the UK’s best-loved novel. It has inspired numerous adaptations, from early silent films to a 2004 movie by Mira Nair starring Reese Witherspoon as Becky.
Regarded as Thackeray's best novel and masterpiece, Vanity Fair was published in serial form in 1847–48 in Punch and established the author's literary reputation as well as his social status and financial security. Critic A. E. Dyson acclaimed it as "one of the world's most devious novels, devious in its characterization, its irony, its explicit moralizing, its exuberance, its tone. Few novels demand more continuing alertness from the reader, or offer more intellectual and moral stimulation in return."
ÒIt is Mrs. SedleyÕs coach, sister,Ó said Miss Jemima. ÒSambo, the black servant, has just rung the bell; and the coachman has a new red waistcoat.Ó
ÒHave you completed all the necessary preparations incident to Miss SedleyÕs departure, Miss Jemima?Ó asked Miss Pinkerton herself, that majestic lady; the Semiramis of Hammersmith, the friend of Doctor Johnson, the correspondent of Mrs. Chapone herself.
Vanity Fair, which takes its title from a chapter in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, remains William Makepeace Thackery’s masterpiece, and has inspired many film adaptations over the years, including the 2004 Mira Nair-directed version starring Reese Witherspoon as the indomitable Becky.
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'Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?'
No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles - military and domestic - are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.
The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
‘Oh, those women! They nurse and cuddle their presentiments, and make darlings of their ugliest thoughts...’
Self-serving social climber and anti-heroine Becky Sharp will do anything to raise her status and attain wealth and standing with smart Society. Clever, lively and resourceful, orphan Becky is the the total opposite of her naive and sentimental schoolmate Amelia Sedley, a pampered, yet good-natured girl from a wealthy family. As both women build lives for themselves in London, Thackeray decadently satirises the corruption and flaws of 19th-Century English Society.
Set in the fictional countries of Paflagonia and Crim Tartary, the story revolves around the lives and fortunes of four young royal cousins, Princesses Angelica and Rosalba, and Princes Bulbo and Giglio. Each page is headed by a line of poetry summing up the plot at that point and the storyline as a whole is laid out, as the book states,
Scorned for her lack of money and breeding, Becky must use all her wit, charm and considerable sex appeal to escape her drab destiny as a governess. From London’s ballrooms to the battlefields of Waterloo, the bewitching Becky works her wiles on a gallery of memorable characters, including her lecherous employer, Sir Pitt, his rich sister, Miss Crawley, and Pitt’s dashing son, Rawdon, the first of Becky’s misguided sexual entanglements.
Filled with hilarious dialogue and superb characterizations, Vanity Fair is a richly entertaining comedy that asks the reader, “Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?”
by William Makepeace Thackeray
BEFORE THE CURTAIN
As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain
on the boards and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound
melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place.
There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love
and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating,
fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are bullies pushing about,
bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets, policemen
on the look-out, quacks (OTHER quacks, plague take them!)
bawling in front of their booths, and yokels looking up at
the tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the
light-fingered folk are operating upon their pockets behind.
Yes, this is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a
merry one, though very noisy. Look at the faces of the actors
and buffoons when they come off from their business; and
Tom Fool washing the paint off his cheeks before he sits down
to dinner with his wife and the little Jack Puddings behind
the canvas. The curtain will be up presently, and he will be
turning over head and heels, and crying, "How are you?"
A man with a reflective turn of mind, walking through an
exhibition of this sort, will not be oppressed, I take it, by his
own or other people's hilarity. An episode of humour or kindness
touches and amuses him here and there--a pretty child
looking at a gingerbread stall; a pretty girl blushing whilst her
lover talks to her and chooses her fairing; poor Tom Fool,
yonder behind the waggon, mumbling his bone with the honest
family which lives by his tumbling; but the general impression
is one more melancholy than mirthful. When you come home
you sit down in a sober, contemplative, not uncharitable frame
of mind, and apply yourself to your books or your business.
I have no other moral than this to tag to the present story
of "Vanity Fair." Some people consider Fairs immoral altogether,
and eschew such, with their servants and families: very
likely they are right. But persons who think otherwise, and are
of a lazy, or a benevolent, or a sarcastic mood, may perhaps
like to step in for half an hour, and look at the performances.
There are scenes of all sorts; some dreadful combats, some
grand and lofty horse-riding, some scenes of high life, and
some of very middling indeed; some love-making for the
sentimental, and some light comic business; the whole
accompanied by appropriate scenery and brilliantly illuminated
with the Author's own candles.
What more has the Manager of the Performance to say?--
To acknowledge the kindness with which it has been received
in all the principal towns of England through which the Show
has passed, and where it has been most favourably noticed by
the respected conductors of the public Press, and by the Nobility
and Gentry. He is proud to think that his Puppets have given
satisfaction to the very best company in this empire. The
famous little Becky Puppet has been pronounced to be uncommonly
flexible in the joints, and lively on the wire; the Amelia
Doll, though it has had a smaller circle of admirers, has yet
been carved and dressed with the greatest care by the artist; the
Dobbin Figure, though apparently clumsy, yet dances in a very
amusing and natural manner; the Little Boys' Dance has been
liked by some; and please to remark the richly dressed figure
of the Wicked Nobleman, on which no expense has been
spared, and which Old Nick will fetch away at the end of this
And with this, and a profound bow to his patrons, the
Manager retires, and the curtain rises.
LONDON, June 28, 1848
Hailed as a literary masterpiece upon first publication, William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair has never waned in popularity and remains a highly entertaining satire of early nineteenth-century high society. This gorgeous edition includes an afterword by the prizewinning author and critic, Henry Hitchings.
Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector’s Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector’s Library are books to love and treasure.
Shunned for her lack of money and destined to live a dull life as a governess, Becky Sharp decides to take her fate in her own hands before it’s too late. Using her wit, charm, and beauty, Becky aims straight for the upper crust of society, but she can’t do it alone. Entangled in her tenacious web are a gallery of colorful characters, among them the sweet Amelia Sedley, the empty-headed Rawdon Crawly, his conservative and cold brother Pitt, and everyone’s favorite wealthy aunt, Matilda Crawley.
The “novel without a hero” gives readers one perfectly imperfect character after another and is a must-read for fans of satire.
Featuring an appendix of discussion questions, this Diversion Classics edition is ideal for use in book groups and classrooms.
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The novel is a satire of society as a whole, characterized by hypocrisy and opportunism, but it is not a reforming novel; there is no suggestion that social or political changes, or greater piety and moral reformism could improve the nature of society. It thus paints a fairly bleak view of the human condition. This bleak portrait is continued with Thackeray's own role as an omniscient narrator, one of the writers best known for using the technique. He continually offers asides about his characters and compares them to actors and puppets, but his scorn goes even as far as his readers; accusing all who may be interested in such "Vanity Fairs" as being either "of a lazy, or a benevolent, or a sarcastic mood".
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Redmond Barry has almost all the qualities of a gentleman: he speaks well, has learned courtly etiquette, and can hold his own with a sword in hand. But passion is his downfall—passion for life, for excitement, and unfortunately, for his cousin Nora. When he almost kills Nora’s suitor in a duel, Barry flees to Dublin, and the adventure of his life begins.
A consummate rake and con man, Barry finds himself on the battlefield against the Prussians in the Seven Years’ War after losing everything. But war—and life, for that matter—is not exactly what Barry wished or expected it to be. A braggart’s tale through and through, with an antihero of epic proporations, The Luck of Barry Lyndon is a brisk romp through one of literature’s most unusual lives.
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In the number of FRASER'S MAGAZINE for January 1844 appeared the first instalment of 'THE LUCK OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ., A ROMANCE OF THE LAST CENTURY, by FitzBoodle,' and the story continued to appear month by month--with the exception of October--up to the end of the year, when the concluding portion was signed 'G. S. FitzBoodle.' FITZBOODLE'S CONFESSIONS, it should be added, had appeared occasionally in the magazine during the years immediately precedent, so that the pseudonym was familiar to FRASER'S readers. The story was written, according to its author's own words, 'with a great deal of dulness, unwillingness and labour,' and was evidently done as the instalments were required, for in August he wrote 'read for "B. L." all the morning at the club,' and four days later of '"B. L." lying like a nightmare on my mind.' The journey to the East--which was to give us in literary results NOTES OF A JOURNEY FROM CORNHILL TO GRAND CAIRO--was begun with BARRY LYNDON yet unfinished, for at Malta the author noted on the first three days of November--'Wrote Barry but slowly and with great difficulty.' 'Wrote Barry with no more success than yesterday.' 'Finished Barry after great throes late at night.' In the number of Fraser's for the following month, as I have said, the conclusion appeared. A dozen years later, in 1856, the story formed the first part of the third volume of Thackeray's MISCELLANIES, when it was called MEMOIRS OF BARRY LYNDON, ESQ., WRITTEN BY HIMSELF. Since then, it has nearly always been issued with other matter, as though it were not strong enough to stand alone, or as though the importance of a work was mainly to be gauged by the number of pages to be crowded into one cover. The scheme of the present edition fortunately allows fitting honour to be done to the memoirs of the great adventurer.
That intelligent reader, with his hand following the line as he read it out to his audience, was saying:—"And—now—Tom—coming up smiling—after his fall—dee—delivered a rattling clinker upon the Benicia Boy's—potato-trap—but was met by a—punisher on the nose—which," &c. &c.; or words to that effect. Betty at 52 let me in, while the boy was reading his lecture and, having been some twenty minutes or so in the house and paid my visit, I took leave.
The little lecturer was still at work on the 51 doorstep, and his audience had scarcely changed their position. Having read every word of the battle myself in the morning, I did not stay to listen further; but if the gentleman who expected his paper at the usual hour that day experienced delay and a little disappointment I shall not be surprised.
I am not going to expatiate on the battle. I have read in the correspondent's letter of a Northern newspaper, that in the midst of the company assembled the reader's humble servant was present, and in a very polite society, too, of "poets, clergymen, men of letters, and members of both Houses of Parliament." If so, I must have walked to the station in my sleep, paid three guineas in a profound fit of mental abstraction, and returned to bed unconscious, for I certainly woke there about the time when history relates that the fight was over. I do not know whose colors I wore—the Benician's, or those of the Irish champion; nor remember where the fight took place, which, indeed, no somnambulist is bound to recollect. Ought Mr. Sayers to be honored for being brave, or punished for being naughty? By the shade of Brutus the elder, I don't know....