Значение слова THACKERAY в Литературной энциклопедии


WILLIAM MAKEPEACE (1811-1863).-Novelist, _s._ of Richmond T., who held various important appointments in the service of the East India Company, and who belonged to an old and respectable Yorkshire family, was _b._ at Calcutta, and soon after the death of his _f._, which took place in 1816, sent home to England. After being at a school at Chiswick, he was sent to the Charterhouse School, where he remained from 1822-26, and where he does not appear to have been very happy. Meanwhile in 1818 his mother had _m._ Major H.W.C. Smythe, who is believed to be, in part at any rate, the original of Colonel Newcome. In 1829 he went to Trinity Coll., Camb., where he remained for a year only, and where he did not distinguish himself particularly as a student, but made many life-long friends, including Spedding (_q.v._), Tennyson, Fitzgerald (_q.v._), and Monckton Milnes (_see_ Houghton), and contributed verses and caricatures to two Univ. papers, "The Snob" and "The Gownsman." The following year, 1831, was spent chiefly in travelling on the Continent, especially Germany, when, at Weimar, he visited Goethe. Returning he entered the Middle Temple, but having no liking for legal studies, he soon abandoned them, and turning his attention to journalism, became proprietor, wholly or in part, of two papers successively, both of which failed. These enterprises, together with some unfortunate investments and also, it would seem, play, stripped him of the comfortable fortune, which he had inherited; and he now found himself dependent on his own exertions for a living. He thought at first of art as a profession, and studied for a time at Paris and Rome. In 1836, while acting as Paris correspondent for the second of his journals, he _m._ Isabella, _dau._ of Colonel Shawe, an Irish officer, and the next year he returned to England and became a contributor to _Fraser's Magazine_, in which appeared _The Yellowplush Papers_, _The Great Hoggarty Diamond_, _Catherine_, and _Barry Lyndon_, the history of an Irish sharper, which contains some of his best work. Other works of this period were _The Paris Sketch-book_ (1840) and _The Irish Sketch-book_ (1843). His work in _Fraser_, while it was appreciated at its true worth by a select circle, had not brought him any very wide recognition: it was his contributions to _Punch_-the _Book of Snobs_ and _Jeames's Diary_-which first caught the ear of the wider public. The turning point in his career, however, was the publication in monthly numbers of _Vanity Fair_ (1847-48). This extraordinary work gave him at once a place beside Fielding at the head of English novelists, and left him no living competitor except Dickens. _Pendennis_, largely autobiographical, followed in 1848-50, and fully maintained his reputation. In 1851 he broke new ground, and appeared, with great success, as a lecturer, taking for his subject _The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century_, following this up in 1855 with the _Four Georges_, first delivered in America. Meanwhile _Esmond_, perhaps his masterpiece, and probably the greatest novel of its kind in existence, had appeared in 1852, and _The Newcomes_ (1853), _The Virginians_, a sequel to _Esmond_, which, though containing much fine work, is generally considered to show a falling off as compared with its two immediate predecessors, came out in 1857-59. In 1860 the _Cornhill Magazine_ was started with T. for its ed., and to it he contributed _Lovell the Widower_ (1860), _The Adventures of Philip_ (1861-62), _The Roundabout Papers_, a series of charming essays, and _Denis Duval_, left a mere fragment by his sudden death, but which gave promise of a return to his highest level of performance. In addition to the works mentioned, T. for some years produced Christmas books and burlesques, of which the best were _The Rose and the Ring_ and _The Kickleburys on the Rhine_. He also wrote graceful verses, some of which, like _Bouillabaisse_, are in a strain of humour shot through with pathos, while others are the purest rollicking fun. For some years T. suffered from spasms of the heart, and he _d._ suddenly during the night of December 23, 1863, in his 53rd year. He was a man of the tenderest heart, and had an intense enjoyment of domestic happiness; and the interruption of this, caused by the permanent breakdown of his wife's health, was a heavy calamity. This, along with his own latterly broken health, and a sensitiveness which made him keenly alive to criticism, doubtless fostered the tendency to what was often superficially called his cynical view of life. He possessed an inimitable irony and a power of sarcasm which could scorch like lightning, but the latter is almost invariably directed against what is base and hateful. To human weakness he is lenient and often tender, and even when weakness passes into wickedness, he is just and compassionate. He saw human nature "steadily and saw it whole," and paints it with a light but sure hand. He was master of a style of great distinction and individuality, and ranks as one of the very greatest of English novelists. SUMMARY.-_B._ 1811, _ed._ at Charterhouse and Camb., after trying law turned to journalism, in which he lost his fortune, studied art at Paris and Rome, wrote for _Fraser's Magazine_ and _Punch_, _Barry Lyndon_, _Book of Snobs_, and _Jeames's Diary_, _pub._ _Vanity Fair_ 1847-8, _Pendennis_ (1848-50), lectured on _Humourists_ 1851, and on _Four Georges_ in America 1855, _pub._ _Esmond_ 1852, _Newcomes_ 1853, _Virginians_ 1857-59, ed. _Cornhill Magazine_ 1860, his last great work, _Denis Duval_, left unfinished, _d._ 1863. _Lives_ by Merivale and Marzials (Great Writers), A. Trollope (English Men of Letters), Whibley (Modern English Writers). Article in _Dictionary of National Biography_ by Leslie Stephen.

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