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Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges   By: (1811-1863)

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In William Makepeace Thackeray’s collection of essays, comprising "Henry Esmond," "The English Humourists," and "The Four Georges," readers are transported to the vibrant world of 18th-century England. Thackeray’s masterful storytelling, rich historical detail, and sharp wit make this anthology an enjoyable and enlightening read.

The first part of the collection, "Henry Esmond," delves into the captivating life of Henry Esmond, a young Englishman with a complex past. Thackeray meticulously describes the social and political climate of the era, immersing readers in the turbulent world of Queen Anne's England. Through Esmond's eyes, we witness the grandeur and hypocrisy of the aristocracy, the intrigues of court life, and the clashes between political factions. Thackeray’s evocative prose brings each scene vividly to life, leaving readers both enthralled and enriched by the historical context.

"The English Humourists" section offers a departure from the fictional realm, as Thackeray examines the works and lives of several influential English authors. With a blend of reverence and playful critique, Thackeray explores their unique styles, satirical talents, and the impact they had on literature. His exploration of writers like Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and William Hogarth not only reveals Thackeray's deep admiration for their craft but also sheds light on his own literary influences. Through his eloquent analysis, Thackeray encourages readers to appreciate the power of wit and satire in shaping society and human nature.

In "The Four Georges," the final installment, Thackeray takes on the ambitious task of narrating the reigns of the four King Georges of England. Despite the complexity of the subject matter, Thackeray's narrative remains engaging throughout. He skillfully weaves together historical facts, anecdotes, and personal reflections, breathing life into these oft-overlooked monarchs. Thackeray not only presents a comprehensive overview of their reigns but also explores their personalities, frailties, and contributions to British society. Readers will find themselves both entertained and enlightened by Thackeray's insightful revelations about these individuals who shaped an entire era.

Thackeray's collection showcases his multifaceted talents as a writer. His meticulous research, attention to detail, and well-honed wit create a vibrant tapestry of 18th-century England. Though the anthology covers a range of themes and subjects, it remains cohesive and compelling throughout. Thackeray's keen observations, often peppered with humor and satire, offer a window into the period's politics, culture, and human nature.

While the book may not enjoy the same level of recognition as some of Thackeray's other works, it should not be overlooked. "Henry Esmond; The English Humourists; The Four Georges" stands as a testament to Thackeray's brilliance as a writer and his ability to skillfully blend history with entertainment. Whether readers are interested in historical fiction, literary analysis, or both, this collection is sure to charm and enlighten.

First Page:

Henry Esmond

The English Humourists

The Four Georges


William Makepeace Thackeray

Edited, with an Introduction, by

George Saintsbury

With 15 Illustrations

Humphrey Milford

Oxford University Press

London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Copenhagen,

New York, Toronto, Melbourne, Cape Town,

Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Shanghai


Introduction. The History Of Henry Esmond, Esq. Dedication. Preface. The Esmonds Of Virginia Book I. The Early Youth Of Henry Esmond, Up To The Time Of His Leaving Trinity College, In Cambridge Chapter I. An Account Of The Family Of Esmond Of Castlewood Hall Chapter II. Relates How Francis, Fourth Viscount, Arrives At Castlewood Chapter III. Whither In The Time Of Thomas, Third Viscount, I Had Preceded Him As Page To Isabella Chapter IV. I Am Placed Under A Popish Priest And Bred To That Religion. Viscountess Castlewood Chapter V. My Superiors Are Engaged In Plots For The Restoration Of King James II Chapter VI... Continue reading book >>

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