Books · Events

Remembering Thackeray

2011 marks the bicentennial of the birth of the ‘forgotten man of the Victorian novel’:  William Makepeace Thackeray. While Vanity Fair remains a standard on university reading lists and has been made and remade into film and TV adaptations, few of Thackeray’s other works have stood the passing of time as well despite being major successes at the time of publication. While his role in the annals of literary history is still to be determined, we here at the Lutterworth Press would like to point you in a different direction in your exploration of in Thackeray during this year of revival.

In A Thackeray Family Biography: 1789-1919,  John Aplin has written a groundbreaking two-volume biography of the Thackeray family revealing how his mother, wife and daughters defined Thackeray’s life and fiction and examining in detail the lives of his two daughters, how they affected his professional and literary legacy and how he affected theirs. Working with letters, journals, notebooks, diaries and papers still led privately by the family, Aplin weaves his way through successive generations of the Thackeray family, focusing not just on the writer’s background and experiences but also on his daughters, Annie and Minny.

Aplin provides a fresh appraisal of Thackeray through a window of domesticity and reveals how his remarkable daughters, who remained at the centre of cosmopolitan and literary society after their father’s death, guarded their family legacy while living fascinating lives of their own. With new and revelatory focus placed on Thackeray’s eldest daughter, Anne Isabella Ritchie, Aplin explores connections between the Thackeray family and Victorian literary society, especially Annie’s relationship with Virginia Woolf, and reveals the literary genius and legacy passed from father to daughter.

We are delighted to announce that John Aplin will be speaking at the ‘William Makepeace Thackeray: Bicentenary Symposium’ at Harvard University on October 6, 2011. The symposium is being held in addition to an exhibition at Harvard’s Houghton Library entitled ‘The Adventures of Thackeray In His Way Through the World: His Fortunes and Misfortunes, His Friends and His Family’ which seeks to re-introduce readers to a man who was once one of the most celebrated British writers. Books, manuscripts, correspondence, and drawings together with items lent from private collections provide unprecedented insight into Thackeray the devoted son, affectionate father, loyal friend and literary celebrity.

Immerse yourself now in the online Thackeray exhibition, pick up one of Thackeray’s forgotten classics and dive headfirst into the life, family and legacy of the forgotten Victorian novelist with John Aplin’s A Thackeray Family Biography: 1789-1919. To purchase the biography and to find related titles, such as Artist of Wonderland: The Life, Political Cartoons, and Illustrations of Tenniel by Frankie Morris and The English Ideology: Studies on the Language of Victorian Politics by George Watson, please visit

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