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William Makepeace Thackeray

Thackeray, an only child, was born in Calcutta,[1] India, where his father, Richmond Thackeray (1 September 1781 – 13 September 1815), was secretary to the board of revenue in the British East India Company. His mother, Anne Becher (1792–1864) was the second daughter of Harriet Becher and John Harman Becher, who was also a secretary (writer) for the East India Company. Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

William's father died in 1815, which caused his mother to decide to return William to England in 1816 (she remained in India). The ship on which he travelled made a short stopover at St. Helena where the imprisoned Napoleon was pointed out to him. HP GSTNN-Q62C Laptop Battery

Once in England he was educated at schools in Southampton and Chiswick and then atCharterhouse School, where he was a close friend of John Leech. He disliked Charterhouse,[2] parodying it in his later fiction as "Slaughterhouse." Sony VAIO PCG-F23 Battery - 4400mAh

 (Nevertheless Thackeray was honoured in the Charterhouse Chapel with a monument after his death.) Illness in his last year there (during which he reportedly grew to his full height of 6' 3") postponed his matriculation at Trinity College, Cambridge, until February 1829. Never too keen on academic studies, he left the University in 1830, though some of his earliest writing appeared in university publications The Snob and The Gownsman.[3]


He travelled for some time on the continent, visiting Paris and Weimar, where he metGoethe. He returned to England and began to study law at the Middle Temple, but soon gave that up. On reaching the age of 21 he came into his inheritance but he squandered much of it on gambling and by funding two unsuccessful newspapers, Delta ADP-90FB AC Adapter/Charger

 The National Standard and The Constitutional for which he had hoped to write. He also lost a good part of his fortune in the collapse of two Indian banks. Forced to consider a profession to support himself, he turned first to art, which he studied in Paris, but did not pursue it except in later years as the illustrator of some of his own novels and other writings. Sony Vaio VGN-FS215S Battery

Thackeray's years of semi-idleness ended after he married (20 August 1836) Isabella Gethin Shawe (1816–1893), second daughter of Isabella Creagh Shawe and Matthew Shawe, a colonel, who had died after extraordinary service, primarily in India. Dell Studio PP33L Laptop Battery

 They had three children, all girls: Anne Isabella (1837–1919), Jane (died at 8 months) and Harriet Marian (1840–1875). He now began "writing for his life," as he put it, turning to journalism in an effort to support his young family. Sony PCG-81111T Battery


He primarily worked for Fraser's Magazine, a sharp-witted and sharp-tongued conservative publication, for which he produced art criticism, short fictional sketches, and two longer fictional works, Catherine and The Luck of Barry Lyndon. Sony PCG-81311T Battery

From 1837 to 1840 he also reviewed books for The Times.[4] Later, through his connection to the illustratorJohn Leech, he began writing for the newly created Punch magazine, where he publishedThe Snob Papers, later collected as The Book of Snobs. This work popularised the modern meaning of the word "snob." Sony VPCF138FC Battery


Tragedy struck in his personal life as his wife succumbed to depression after the birth of their third child in 1840. Finding he could get no work done at home, he spent more and more time away, until September of that year, when he realised how grave her condition was. Struck by guilt, he took his ailing wife to Ireland. Sony VPCF219FC Battery

During the crossing she threw herself from a water-closet into the sea, but she was pulled from the waters. They fled back home after a four-week domestic battle with her mother. From November 1840 to February 1842 she was in and out of professional care, her condition waxing and waning. Sony VPCS135EC Battery


She eventually deteriorated into a permanent state of detachment from reality, unaware of the world around her. Thackeray desperately sought cures for her, but nothing worked, and she ended up confined in a home near Paris. She remained there until 1893, Sony VPCS136EC Battery

outliving her husband by thirty years. After his wife's illness, Thackeray became a de factowidower, never establishing another permanent relationship. Sony VPCS138EC Battery

He did pursue other women, in particular Mrs. Jane Brookfield, and Sally Baxter. In 1851 Mr Brookfield barred Thackeray from further visits to or correspondence with Jane. Baxter, an American twenty years his junior whom he met during a lecture tour in New York City in 1852, married another man in 1855. Sony VPCS139GC Battery


In the early 1840s, Thackeray had some success with two travel books, The Paris Sketch Book and The Irish Sketch Book. He achieved more recognition with his Snob Papers(serialised 1846/7, published in book form in 1848), Sony VPCYA15EC Battery

but the work that really established his fame was the novel Vanity Fair, which first appeared in serialised instalments beginning in January 1847. Even before Vanity Fair completed its serial run, Thackeray had become a celebrity, sought after by the very lords and ladies whom he satirised; they hailed him as the equal of Dickens. Sony VPCYA16EC Battery


He remained "at the top of the tree," as he put it, for the remaining decade and a half of his life, producing several large novels, notably PendennisThe Newcomes, and The History of Henry Esmond, despite various illnesses, including a near fatal one that struck him in 1849 in the middle of writing Pendennis. He twice visited the United States on lecture tours during this period. Sony VPCYA25EC Battery


Thackeray also gave lectures in London on the English humourists of the eighteenth century, and on the first four Hanoverian monarchs. The latter series was published in book form as The Four Georges. In Oxford, he stood unsuccessfully as an independent for Parliament. He was narrowly beaten by Cardwell (1070 votes, against 1005 for Thackeray). Sony VPCYA26EC Battery


In 1860 Thackeray became editor of the newly established Cornhill Magazine, but was never comfortable as an editor, preferring to contribute to the magazine as a columnist, producing his Roundabout Papers for it. Sony VPCYB15JC Battery


His health worsened during the 1850s and he was plagued by a recurring stricture of theurethra that laid him up for days at a time. He also felt he had lost much of his creative impetus. He worsened matters by over-eating and drinking and avoiding exercise, though he enjoyed horseback riding (he kept a horse). Sony VGN-CS11S/P Battery

He could not break his addiction to spicy peppers, further ruining his digestion. On 23 December 1863, after returning from dining out and before dressing for bed, Thackeray suffered a stroke and was found dead on his bed in the morning. Sony VPCEE37EC Battery

His death at the age of fifty-two was entirely unexpected, and shocked his family, friends, and reading public. An estimated 7000 people attended his funeral atKensington Gardens. He was buried on 29 December at Kensal Green Cemetery, and a memorial bust sculpted by Marochetti can be found in Westminster Abbey. Sony VPCEE47EC Battery



Thackeray began as a satirist and parodist, writing papers with a sneaking fondness for roguish upstarts like Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair and the title characters of The Luck of Barry Lyndon and Catherine. In his earliest works, Sony VPCEB37EC Battery

writing under such pseudonyms as Charles James Yellowplush, Michael Angelo Titmarsh, and George Savage Fitz-Boodle, he tended towards the savage in his attacks on high society, military prowess, the institution of marriage, and hypocrisy. Sony VPCEB35EC Battery


One of his earliest works, "Timbuctoo" (1829), contained his burlesque upon the subject set for the Cambridge Chancellor's medal for English verse, (the contest was won byTennyson with "Timbuctoo"). His writing career really began with a series of satirical sketches now usually known as The Yellowplush Papers, which appeared in Fraser's Magazine beginning in 1837. These were adapted for BBC Radio 4 in 2009, with Adam Buxton playing Charles Yellowplush.[5]Sony VPCEB47EC Battery


Between May 1839 and February 1840, Fraser's published the work sometimes considered Thackeray's first novel, Catherine, originally intended as a satire of theNewgate school of crime fiction but ending up more as a rollicking picaresque tale in its own right. Sony VPCEB46EC Battery


In The Luck of Barry Lyndon, a novel serialised in Fraser's in 1844, Thackeray explored the situation of an outsider trying to achieve status in high society, a theme which he developed more successfully in Vanity Fair with the character of Becky Sharp, the artist's daughter who rises nearly to the heights by manipulating the other characters. Sony VPCEB4AYC Battery


He is best known now for Vanity Fair, with its deft skewerings of human foibles and its roguishly attractive heroine. His large novels from the period after this, once described unflatteringly by Henry James as examples of "loose baggy monsters," have faded from view, perhaps because they reflect a mellowing in the author, who became so successful with his satires on society that he seemed to lose his zest for attacking it. Sony VPCEA38EC Battery


The later works include Pendennis, a sort of bildungsroman depicting the coming of age of Arthur Pendennis, a kind of alter ego of Thackeray's who also features as the narrator of two later novels, The Newcomes and The Adventures of PhilipSony VPCEA37EC Battery

The Newcomes is noteworthy for its critical portrayal of the "marriage market," while Philip is noteworthy for its semi-autobiographical depiction of Thackeray's early life, in which the author partially regains some of his early satirical zest. Sony VPCEA35EC Battery


Also notable among the later novels is The History of Henry Esmond, in which Thackeray tried to write a novel in the style of the eighteenth century. In fact, the eighteenth century held a great appeal for Thackeray. Sony VPCEA47EC Battery

Not only Esmond but also Barry Lyndon and Catherineare set then, as is the sequel to EsmondThe Virginians, which takes place in America and includes George Washington as a character who nearly kills one of the protagonists in a duel. Sony VPCEA48EC Battery


Family life and background

Thackeray's father was born at South Mimms and went to India in 1798 at age sixteen as writer (secretary) with the East India Company. Richmond fathered a daughter, Sarah Redfield, born in 1804, Sony VPCEA4AYC Battery

 by Charlotte Sophia Rudd, his native and possibly Eurasian mistress, the mother and daughter being named in his will. Such liaisons were common among gentlemen of the East India Company, and it formed no bar to his later courting and marrying William's mother.[6]Sony VPCEA46EC Battery


Anne Becher, born 1792, was "one of the reigning beauties of the day," a daughter of John Harmon Becher (Collector of the South 24 Parganas district d. Calcutta, 1800), of an old Bengal civilian family "noted for the tenderness of its women." Sony VPCEA28EC/L Battery

Anne Becher, her sister Harriet, and widowed mother Harriet had been sent back to India by her authoritarian guardian grandmother, widow Ann Becher, in 1809 on the Earl Howe. Anne's grandmother had told her that the man she loved, Henry Carmichael-Smyth, Sony VPCEA28EC/P Battery

an ensign of the Bengal Engineers whom she met at an Assembly Ball in Bath, Somerset during 1807, had died, and Henry was told that Anne was no longer interested in him. Sony VPCEA28EC/W Battery

This was not true. Though Carmichael-Smyth was from a distinguished Scottish military family, Anne's grandmother went to extreme lengths to thwart their marriage; surviving family letters state that she wanted a better match for her granddaughter.[7]Sony VPCEA28EC/B Battery

Anne Becher and Richmond Thackeray were married in Calcutta on 13 October 1810. Their only child, William, was born on 18 July 1811.[8]Sony VPCEA27EC/P Battery


There was a fine miniature portrait of the exuberant and youthful Anne Becher Thackeray and William Makepeace Thackeray at about age 2, done in Madras by George Chinnery c. 1813.[9]Sony VPCEA27EC/B Battery


Her family's deception was unexpectedly revealed in 1812, when Richmond Thackeray unwittingly invited to dinner the supposedly dead Carmichael-Smyth. Richmond died of a fever on 13 September 1815, and Anne married Henry Carmichael-Smyth on 13 March 1817. Sony VPCEA27EC/L Battery

They did not return to England until 1820, though they had sent William off to school there more than three years before. The separation from his mother had a traumatic effect on the young Thackeray which he discusses in his essay "On Letts's Diary" in The Roundabout Papers. Sony VPCEA27EC/W Battery


Thackeray is British comedian Al Murray's great-great-great-grandfather.[10]

Reputation and legacy

During the Victorian era, Thackeray was ranked second only to Charles Dickens, but he is now much less read and is known almost exclusively for Vanity Fair. In that novel he was able to satirise whole swaths of humanity while retaining a light touch. It also features his most memorable character, Sony VPCEA25EC Battery

the engagingly roguish Becky Sharp. As a result, unlike Thackeray's other novels, it remains popular with the general reading public; it is a standard fixture in university courses and has been repeatedly adapted for movies and television. Sony VPCEA28EC Battery


In Thackeray's own day, some commentators, such as Anthony Trollope, ranked hisHistory of Henry Esmond as his greatest work, perhaps because it expressed Victorian values of duty and earnestness, as did some of his other later novels. It is perhaps for this reason that they have not survived as well as Vanity Fair, which satirises those values. Sony VPCEA27EC Battery

Thackeray saw himself as writing in the realistic tradition and distinguished himself from the exaggerations and sentimentality of Dickens. Some later commentators have accepted this self-evaluation and seen him as a realist, Sony VPCEB27EC Battery

but others note his inclination to use eighteenth-century narrative techniques, such as digressions and talking to the reader, and argue that through them he frequently disrupts the illusion of reality. The school of Henry James, with its emphasis on maintaining that illusion, marked a break with Thackeray's techniques. Sony VPCEB25EC Battery


2 Palace Green, a house built for Thackeray in the 1860s, is currently the permanent residence of the Israeli Embassy to the United Kingdom.[11]Sony VPCEA18EC Battery


His former home in Tunbridge Wells, Kent is now a fine dining restaurant named after the author.[citation needed]

Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon is a 1975 British-American period romantic war film produced, written, and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The film is based on the 1844 novel The Luck of Barry Lyndon by William Makepeace Thackeray which recounts the exploits of an 18th century Irish adventurer. Ryan O'Neal stars as Barry Lyndon. Sony VPCEA16EC Battery


The film had a modest commercial success and a mixed critical reception; it is now seen as one of Kubrick's finest films. Barry Lyndon was part of Time magazine's poll of the 100 best films in 2005[2] as well as the Village Voice poll conducted in 1999,[citation needed]and tied for #27 in Sight and Sound's 2002 film critics poll.[3] Sony VPCEB18EC Battery

Director Martin Scorsese has cited Barry Lyndon as his favorite Kubrick film and quotations from it appear in such disparate works as Ridley Scott's The Duellists, Scorsese's The Age of Innocence, Wes Anderson's Rushmore and Lars von Trier's Dogville. Sony VPCEA25EC/T Battery


An omniscient (though unreliable[4]) narrator (voiced by Michael Hordern) informs us that in 1750s Ireland, the father of Redmond Barry (Ryan O'Neal) is killed in a duel over a disputed horse sale. The widow (Marie Kean), disdaining offers of marriage, devotes herself to her only son. Sony VPCEA25EC/BI Battery

As a teenager, Barry falls in love with his older cousin, Nora Brady (Gay Hamilton). Though she seduces him, she later drops Barry (who has no money) for the well-off English Captain John Quin (Leonard Rossiter). Nora and her family plan to relieve their poverty with an advantageous marriage, but Barry refuses to accept the situation and shoots Quin in a duel. Sony VPCEA25EC/PI Battery


Barry flees to Dublin, but en route is robbed of purse and equipment by Captain Feeney (Arthur O'Sullivan), a famous highwayman. Broke, he joins the British army, whereupon he reunites with Captain Grogan (Godfrey Quigley), Sony VPCEA25EC/WI Battery

a family friend, who informs him that, in fact, he did not kill Quin — Barry's dueling pistol was loaded with tow. The duel was staged by Nora's family to get rid of Barry so that their family finances would be secured through the marriage of Nora and Quin. Sony VPCEB27EC/PI Battery


Barry's regiment is sent to France to fight in the Seven Years' War, where Captain Grogan is fatally wounded in a skirmish with the French. Barry deserts the army, stealing an officer courier's uniform, horse, and identification papers. Sony VPCEB27EC/T Battery

En route to neutral Holland he encounters the Prussian Captain Potzdorf (Hardy Krüger), who, seeing through his disguise, offers him the choice of being turned back over to the British where he will be shot as a deserter, or enlisting in the Prussian army. Barry enlists in his second army and later receives a special commendation from Frederick the Great for saving Potzdorf's life in a battle. Sony VPCEB27EC/WI Battery


After the war ends in 1763, Barry is employed by Captain Potzdorf's uncle in the Prussian Ministry of Police to become the servant of the Chevalier de Balibari (Patrick Magee), a professional gambler. The Prussians suspect he is a spy and send Barry as an undercover agent to verify this. Barry discovers the Chevalier is in fact an Irishman and they become confederates cheating at cards. Sony VPCEB25EC/WI Battery


After he and the Chevalier cheat the Prince of Tübingen at the cardtable, the Prince accuses the Chevalier (without proof) and refuses to pay his debt unless the Chevalier demands satisfaction. When Barry relays this to his Prussian handlers, Sony VPCEB25EC/T Battery

the Potzdorfs (still suspecting that the Chevalier is a spy) are wary of allowing another meeting between the Chevalier and the Prince. So, the Prussians arrange for the Chevalier to be expelled from the country. Barry conveys this plan to the Chevalier, who flees in the night. The next morning, Barry, under disguise as the Chevalier, is escorted from Prussian territory by Prussian officers. Sony VPCEA18EC/P Battery


For the next few years, Barry and the Chevalier travel the spas and parlors of Europe, profiting from their gambling with Barry enforcing reluctant debtors with a duel. Seeing that his life is going nowhere, Barry decides to marry into wealth. Sony VPCEA18EC/L Battery

At a gambling table in Belgium, he encounters the beautiful and wealthy Countess of Lyndon (Marisa Berenson). He seduces and later marries her after the death of her elderly husband, Sir Charles Lyndon (Frank Middlemass). Sony VPCEA18EC/B Battery



Containing an Account of the Misfortunes and Disasters Which Befell Barry Lyndon

On marriage (in 1773), Barry takes the Countess' last name and settles in England to enjoy her wealth, still with no money of his own. Lord Bullingdon (Dominic Savage), Lady Lyndon's 10-year-old son by Sir Charles, does not approve of the marriage and quickly comes to hate Barry, Sony VPCEA18EC/W Battery

aware that Barry is merely a "common opportunist" and does not love his mother. The Countess bears Barry a son, Bryan Patrick, but the marriage is unhappy: Barry is openly unfaithful and enjoys spending his wife's money while keeping his wife in dull seclusion. Sony VPCEA16EC/L Battery


Some years later, Barry's mother comes to live with him at the Lyndon estate. She warns her son that his position is precarious: If Lady Lyndon were to die, all her wealth would go to Lord Bullingdon (now a young man, played by Leon Vitali), Sony VPCEA16EC/B Battery

 leaving Barry penniless. Barry's mother advises him to obtain a noble title to protect himself. To further this goal, he cultivates the acquaintance of the influential Lord Wendover (André Morell) and expends large sums of money to ingratiate himself to high society. Sony VPCEA16EC/W Battery

All this effort is wasted, however, during a birthday party for Lady Lyndon, Lord Bullingdon announces his hatred of his stepfather and his intention to leave the family estate for as long as his mother remains married to Barry. Sony VPCEA16EC/P Battery

Angered, Barry assaults Bullingdon before the guests. This public display of cruelty loses Barry all the powerful friends he has worked so hard to make and he is shunned socially. Bullingdon makes good on his announcement and leaves the estate and England itself for parts unknown. Sony VPCEB18EC/T Battery


In contrast to the mistreatment that he treated his stepson, Barry proves a compassionate and doting father to Bryan, with whom he spends all his time after Bullingdon's departure. He cannot refuse his son anything, and succumbs to Bryan's insistence on receiving a full-grown horse for his ninth birthday. Sony VPCEB18EC/WI Battery

The spoiled Bryan disobeys his parents' direct instructions that Bryan only ride the horse in the presence of his father, and is thrown by the horse. Bryan dies a few days later from his injuries. Sony PCG-61511T Battery


The grief-stricken Barry turns to alcohol, while Lady Lyndon seeks solace in religion, assisted by the Reverend Samuel Runt (Murray Melvin), tutor first to Lord Bullingdon and then to Bryan. Left in charge of the families' affairs while Barry and Lady Lyndon grieve, Sony PCG-71212T Battery

Barry's mother dismisses the Reverend, both because the family no longer needs (nor can afford, due to Barry's spending debts) a tutor and for fear that his influence worsens Lady Lyndon's condition. Plunging even deeper into grief, Sony PCG-61211T Battery

Lady Lyndon later attempts suicide (though only ingests enough poison to make herself ill). The Reverend and the family's accountant and emissary Graham (Philip Stone) then seek out Lord Bullingdon. Upon hearing of these events, Sony PCG-61212T Battery

Lord Bullingdon returns to England where he finds Barry in a local tavern getting drunk and mouring the loss of his son rather than being with Lady Lyndon. Bullingdon demands "satisfaction" (a challenge to a duel) for Barry's public assault. Sony PCG-21311T Battery


The duel with pistols is held in an abandoned chapel. A coin-toss gives Bullingdon the right of first fire, but his pistol misfires as it is being cocked. Barry, reluctant to shoot Bullingdon, magnanimously fires into the ground, but the unmoved Bullingdon refuses to let the duel end. Sony PCG-31311T Battery

In the second round, Bullingdon shoots Barry in his left leg. At a nearby inn, a surgeon informs Barry that the leg will need to be amputated below the knee if he is to survive. Sony PCG-31211T Battery


While Barry is recovering, Bullingdon re-takes control of the estate. He sends a very nervous Graham to the inn with a proposition: Bullingdon will grant Barry an annuity of 500 guineas for life on the conditions that he leave England forever and end his marriage to Lady Lyndon. Sony PCG-41111T Battery

Otherwise, with his credit and bank accounts exhausted, Barry's creditors and bill collectors will assuredly see that he is jailed. Defeated, Barry accepts. Sony PCG-51111T Battery

The narrator states that Barry goes first to Ireland with his mother, then to the European continent to resume his former profession of gambler (though without his former success) and that he never sees Lady Lyndon again. The final scene (set in December 1789) shows the dissolute middle-aged Lady Lyndon signing Barry's annuity cheque as Bullingdon looks on. Sony PCG-51311T Battery


One last title card closes the film:

Critic Tim Robey suggests, that the film "makes you realise that the most undervalued aspect of Kubrick's genius could well be his way with actors."[5] He adds that thesupporting cast is a "glittering procession of cameos, not from star names but from vital character players."[5]Sony PCG-81111T Battery


The cast featured Leon Vitali as the older Lord Bullingdon, who would then become Kubrick's personal assistant, working as the casting director on his following films, and supervising film-to-video transfers for Kubrick. Sony PCG-81311T Battery

 Their relationship lasted until Kubrick's death. The film's cinematographer, John Alcott, appears at the men's club in the non-speaking role of the man asleep in a chair near the title character when Lord Bullingdon challenges Barry to a duel. Kubrick's daughter Vivian also appears (in an uncredited role) as a guest at Bryan's birthday party. Sony VGN-AW19 Battery


Kubrick stalwarts Patrick Magee (who had played the handicapped writer in A Clockwork Orange) and Philip Stone (who had played Alex's father in A Clockwork Orange, and would go on to play the dead caretaker Grady in The Shining) are featured as the Chevalier du Balibari and as Graham, respectively. Sony VGN-CS13H Battery


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