The Life of a Literary Man

D. J. Taylor,

Thackeray: The Life of a Literary Man
A rich and evocative portrait of one of the greatest authors of Victorian England

Who was William Makepeace Thackeray? Was he the wealthy dilettante who came to London in the 1830s and squandered his fortune on newspapers? Was he the impoverished freelance author of the 1840s who scrapped for every penny he could get? Or was he the great writer who published Vanity Fair in 1847, skewering Victorian society and ensuring his literary legacy? Throughout the many phases of his life, Thackeray remained an enigma. He was friendly but standoffish, generous yet miserly, confident and utterly terrified of failure.
A century and a half after Thackeray’s death, D. J. Taylor has produced a biography that tackles the complexities of these contradictions and restores Thackeray to his place in the literary pantheon. His fortune lost by the time he was thirty, his personal life in constant torment, Thackeray’s story is as dramatic as that of any of his characters. In Thackeray, the man can finally be seen in full.

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