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Harvard Classics Volume 28 Essays English and American   By: (1834-1926)

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First Page:

THE HARVARD CLASSICS

EDITED BY CHARLES W ELIOT LL D

ESSAYS

ENGLISH AND AMERICAN

WITH INTRODUCTIONS, NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS

"DR ELIOT'S FIVE FOOT SHELF OF BOOKS"

P F COLLIER & SON

NEW YORK

Copyright 1910 BY P. F. COLLIER & Son

Copyright 1886 BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

By arrangement with HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY

Copyright 1889 BY THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY OF HARTFORD, CONN.

Copyright 1891 BY THE TRAVELERS INSURANCE COMPANY

CONTENTS

JONATHAN SWIFT WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY

THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY I. WHAT IS A UNIVERSITY? II. SITE OF A UNIVERSITY III. UNIVERSITY LIFE AT ATHENS JOHN HENRY NEWMAN

THE STUDY OF POETRY MATTHEW ARNOLD

SESAME AND LILIES LECTURE I SESAME: OF KINGS' TREASURIES LECTURE II LILIES: OF QUEENS' GARDENS JOHN RUSKIN

JOHN MILTON WALTER BAGEHOT

SCIENCE AND CULTURE THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY

RACE AND LANGUAGE EDWARD AUGUSTUS FREEMAN

TRUTH OF INTERCOURSE SAMUEL PEPYS ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

ON THE ELEVATION OF THE LABORING CLASSES WILLIAM ELLERY CHANNING

THE POETIC PRINCIPLE EDGAR ALLAN POE

WALKING HENRY DAVID THOREAU

ABRAHAM LINCOLN DEMOCRACY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

INTRODUCTORY NOTE

William Makepeace Thackeray, one of the greatest of English novelists, was born at Calcutta, India, on July 18, 1811, where his father held an administrative position. He was sent to England at six for his education, which he received at the Charterhouse and Cambridge, after which he began, but did not prosecute, the study of law. Having lost his means, in part by gambling, he made up his mind to earn his living as an artist, and went to Paris to study. He had some natural gift for drawing, which he had already employed in caricature, but, though he made interesting and amusing illustrations for his books, he never acquired any marked technical skill.

He now turned to literature, and, on the strength of an appointment as Paris correspondent of a short lived radical newspaper, he married. On the failure of the newspaper he took to miscellaneous journalism and the reviewing of books and pictures, his most important work appearing in "Fraser's Magazine" and "Punch." In 1840 his wife's mind became clouded, and, though she never recovered, she lived on till 1894.

Success came to Thackeray very slowly. "Catherine," "The Great Hoggarty Diamond," "Barry Lyndon," and several volumes of travel had failed to gain much attention before the "Snob Papers," issued in "Punch" in 1846, brought him fame. In the January of the next year "Vanity Fair" began to appear in monthly numbers, and by the time it was finished Thackeray had taken his place in the front rank of his profession. "Pendennis" followed in 1850, and sustained the prestige he had won.

The next year he began lecturing, and delivered in London the lectures on the "English Humourists," which he repeated the following winter in America with much success. "Esmond" had appeared on the eve of his setting sail, and revealed his style at its highest point of perfection, and a tenderer if less powerful touch than "Vanity Fair" had displayed. In 1855 "The Newcomes" appeared, and was followed by a second trip to America, when he lectured on the "Four Georges." After an unsuccessful attempt to enter Parliament, the novelist resumed his writing with "The Virginians" (1857 59), in which he availed himself of his American experiences.

In the January of 1860 the "Cornhill Magazine" was founded, with Thackeray as first editor, and launched on a distinguished career. Most of his later work was published in its pages, but "Lovel the Widower" and the "Adventures of Philip" have not taken a place beside his greater work. In the essays constituting the "Roundabout Papers," however, he appeared at his easiest and most charming. After a little more than two years he resigned the editorship; and on December 23, 1863, he died... Continue reading book >>




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