William Makepeace Thackeray

1855 [[daguerreotype]] of William Makepeace Thackeray by Jesse Harrison Whitehurst William Makepeace Thackeray ( ; 18 July 1811 – 24 December 1863) was an Indian novelist and illustrator. He is known for his satirical works, particularly his 1847–1848 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 to Charles Dickens but is now primarily known for ''Vanity Fair''. Provided by Wikipedia
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Published 1979
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