Memory and Legacy
A Thackeray Family Biography, 1876-1919
By John Aplin
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July 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of William Makepeace Thackeray’s birth, and in anticipation of this event The Lutterworth Press now publishes the final part of John Aplin’s ground-breaking study of the Thackerays in their domestic settings with both parts to be made available as a set.
Like its predecessor, The Inheritance of Genius, Memory and Legacy draws extensively on materials not previously known to scholars, including much from the private collections of current Thackeray family members.
Memory and Legacy focuses principally on the later years of the novelist’s elder daughter, Annie, who discovered unsuspected personal happiness by marrying a much younger cousin, and finally overcame her father’s insistence that there should be no life written of him by composing her fine introductions to the Biographical Edition of his works. She and her younger sister, Minny, had been their father’s closest companions, and after Minny’s early in death in childbirth her widower, Leslie Stephen, himself found fresh happiness in a second marriage, to Julia Duckworth. Their daughter, Virginia Woolf, grew close to the aging Annie, the ‘step-aunt’ whom she portrayed in her early novel Night and Day, whose writing she admired, and whose TLS obituary she would write.
Thackeray’s relationships with writers like Browning, Tennyson, Dickens and Trollope were maintained by his daughters, and Annie later got to know writers and artists such as Margaret Oliphant, Rhoda Broughton, G. F. Watts, Millais, Leighton, Swinburne, J. M. Barrie and Henry James. Her network of friendships offers fresh insights into the artistic milieu of the late-Victorian and Edwardian eras.
About the Author: John Aplin is an independent writer and researcher. The Inheritance of Genius was published in 2010 by The Lutterworth Press, and he has also edited the five volumes of The Correspondence and Journals of the Thackeray Family (2011) for Pickering & Chatto.
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John Aplin writing about Thackeray in England’s oldest literary periodical The London Magazine
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