On July 18 1811, William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) Victorian novelist and illustrator was born in India where both parents worked for the East India Company. His father died when he was only 4years old and he was sent back to England by his mother who remained in India. He is known for his satirical works, particularly his 1848 novel Vanity Fair, a broad portrait of British society.
Before the success of Vanity Fair, Thackeray worked as a free-lance journalist for about ten years, publishing literary criticism, art criticism, topical articles, and fiction either anonymously or under a number of comic pseudonyms. The Book of Snobs (1846-7) gave Thackeray his first notoriety when it appeared as The Snobs of England in Punch. In 1847-48 he had great success with Vanity Fair, although the novel had a slow start, eventually it sold in the about 7,000 a month. Just as importantly, Thackeray finally had a name that gained notice and reviews in journals such as the Edinburgh Review. Pendennis followed in 1849-50, but was interrupted for 3 months by Thackeray becoming ill. This novel ran at the same time with Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, their dual appearance brought about the first of many comparisons with Dickens. Thackeray felt that he and Dickens were battling for being king of the novel, though he would never equal Dickens’s popularity. The novel is semi-autobiographical drawing on, Thackeray’s disappointments in college, ambivalent relation with his mother, and insider’s knowledge of the London publishing world.
Vanity Fair – is a novel on Victorian values and conventions, Thackeray’s writing displays a sneaking fondness for roguish upstarts such as Becky Sharp, which satirically describes the rise of this heroin, representing the striving for money, power and social recognition of the new middle classes.
Just thought I would here mention the American magazine Vanity Fair, it first emerged as Dress and Vanity Fair in 1913, it thrive into the twenties, however, it became a casualty of the Great Depression. The revival was announced in 1981 and Vanity Fair was first published in February 1983 for its March Edition:
Now back to Thackeray, here is one of his a humorous poems: