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emotions of pity and fear to a degree seldom attained by any tragic writer. In “Great Expectations," which was completed 1860, Dickens returned to his earlier manner with a narrative in which description, sentiment, humor, tenderness, and insight into the world of a child mind were combined in his own matchless manner. In the meantime his health began to break. In 1865 he had a severe illness, the consequences of which were aggravated by his being in a railway train which met with a fearful accident. He never fully recovered, but in the midst of his difficulties contrived to finish his last great novel,“ Our Mutual Friend." In spite of his growing infirmities, he continued his readings, made a second trip 1868 to America, and set to work on a new book, “ The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” which was never finished. He died June 9, 1870, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Perhaps his final place in literature has never been better suggested than in the following words of Alexander Smith: “If Mr. Dickens's characters were gathered together, they would constitute a town populous enough to send a representative to Parliament. Let us enter. There is an individuality about the buildings. In some obscure way they remind us of human faces. Newman Noggs comes shambling along. Mr. and the Misses Pecksniff come sailing down the sunny side of the street. Miss Mercy's parasol is gay; papa's neckcloth is white and terribly starched. Dick Swiveller stands against a wall, a primrose held between his teeth. You turn a corner and you meet the coffin of Little Paul borne along. In the afternoon you hear the rich tones of the organ from Miss La Creevy's first floor, for Tom Pinch has gone to live there now, and you go up and talk with the dear old fellow and towards evening he takes your arm and you walk out to see poor Nelly's grave."
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES 1. In a three-minute talk tell the class what novels of Dickens you have
read, when you read them, the characters you liked and disliked,
and all impressions made upon you by this author. 2. Tell of Dickens's parentage, boyhood, and youth. 3. What English and European novelists influenced Dickens ? 4. How were the Pickwick Papers” received ? 5. In what form were Dickens's novels first published ?
6. Name some of the customs and institutions which Dickens successfully
fought against. 7. Name Dickens's two historical novels and tell something about each. 8. What were Dickens's relations with America ? 9. Which member of the class in three minutes can write the names of
the largest number of Dickens's characters ? 10. What four adjectives best describe the qualities of Dickens's work?
Suggested Readings.-The man or woman who has not read most of Dickens's novels has deprived himself or herself of wealth. Pickwick Papers” and “ David Copperfield” are considered the greatest of the great ones. A. W. Ward's “ Life of Dickens ” will be valuable collateral reading.
Jerry truety Yours
Charles Dick CORO
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY (1811-1863)
“A Titan of mind.”—Charlotte Brontë.
“O gentle censor of our age!
Prime master of our ampler tongue !
SOMEBODY has called Dickens the novelist of the masses and Thackeray the novelist of the classes. In the sense that Thackeray drew better pictures of the upper classes of society than Dickens this is a true distinction, but in the sense that Dickens's portraits are more realistic than Thackeray's it is not true. Thackeray's men and women are as natural and as universally understandable as Dickens's. Indeed, great as Dickens is, it is altogether probable that Thackeray will ultimately stand higher in fame.
He was born July 18, 1811, in Calcutta. His father and grandfather were Indian civil servants. He was brought as a child to England and sent to school at the Charter House, which he always spoke of in his earlier books as the Slaughter House. Here in a fight he acquired a broken nose and in his more peaceful moments a reputation among the boys as a writer of parodies. In one of these, on a sentimental poem then popular, he substituted for “violets, dark blue violets” the phrase "cabbages, bright green cabbages." In 1829 he was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he edited a paper called “The Snob,” dedicated to all Proctors, past, present, and future
“Whose taste it is our privilege to follow,
Whose presence it is our interest to avoid.” Perhaps the best of his contributions to this publication was a parody on Alfred Tennyson's " Timbuctoo,” which had just won the Chancellor's prize for English verse. He left Cambridge 1830 and resided for some time thereafter on the continent, chiefly at Weimar and in Paris, his purpose being to become an artist. Artists say that he never learned to draw, but he did at all events acquire the art of making exquisitely funny pictures. One of his early efforts in this direction represents a messenger kneeling on the field of battle and delivering a despatch to the Duke of Marlborough on horseback. A cannon ball has just carried off the mesenger's head, but the graceful ease with which the duke receives the message and the soldier-like attitude of the headless trunk form a lovely contrast to the tragedy of the scene. When “ Pickwick” was in need of an illustrator, Thackeray applied unsuccessfully for the job, but in later years made the pictures for his own books and made them, drawing or no drawing, with a combination of humor and fidelity as delightful as it is rare.
In 1832 he came of age and inherited a fortune of 500 pounds a year, which he succeeded in getting rid of, interest and principal, in a year or two, partly at cards but mostly through the smoothness of a popular preacher, who used to cry a good deal in the pulpit. This worthy induced Makepeace to start a magazine. He later described his own folly in these words: "I daresay I gave myself airs as the editor of that confounded Museum,' and proposed to educate the public taste, to diffuse morality and sound literature throughout the nation, and to pocket a liberal salary in return for my services. I daresay I printed my own sonnets, my own tragedy, my own verses. I daresay I made a gaby of myself to the world. Pray, my good friend, hast thou never done likewise? If thou hast never been a fool, be sure thou wilt never be a wise man.”
His money being gone and his art studies having failed, Thackeray, like Goldsmith, tried literature. After some newspaper experience he formed a connection with " Fraser's Magazine,” in which 1837 appeared the “ History of Samuel Titmarsh and the Great Hoggarty Diamond.” The editor wanted it made shorter, but nobody wants it or any of his other books made shorter now. It was followed by " Barry Lyndon," a short novel in which with inimitable power he drew a picture of the most consummate rascal in all literature. In 1840 he brought out his “ Paris Sketch Book.” About the same time, in a good day for himself, the journal, and the world, he found
Punch," to which from 1843 to 1853 he was a regular contributor.
Among other things he wrote for " Punch" were“ The Snob Papers" and “The Ballads of Policeman X." The Irish Sketch Book came out in 1843 and “ From Cornhill to Grand Cairo” in 1844. Though he printed all of these under the name of Titmarsh, their merit gradually made him known in the literary world. Finally, in
1846, he began the publication under his own name of his first long novel, “ Vanity Fair,” and was famous.
Vanity Fair ” has neither plot nor hero. Its lack of the former is due probably to the fact that it came out in numbers.