William Makepeace Thackeray

A picture of the author William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace Thackeray (July 18, 1811 - December 24, 1863) was a 19th century English novelist famous for his satirical work.

He was born in Calcutta, India in 1811. When his father died in 1815, his mother remained in India but chose to send you William to England. He was a good student but postponed his academic studies, and when he came into his inheritance at 21 years of age, he quickly squandered it on two unsuccessful newspapers and by gambling. He put his idle years behind him when he married in 1836.

He is best known for his novel Vanity Fair, a satirical work with an attractive heroine and take-no-prisoners skewering of human weaknesses and foibles. About Thackeray's novel The History of Henry Esmond, Oscar Wilde wrote in his essay, The Soul of Man Under Socialism: "Popular authority and the recognition of popular authority are fatal. Thackeray's Esmond is a beautiful work of art because he wrote it to please himself."

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