First Editions of The Works of William Thackeray
The Works of William Thackeray.
Item Number: 19005
London: Various Publishers, 1840-1867.
First edition of the works of William Thackeray. Octavo, 34 volumes, uniformly bound in three-quarters morocco. From the library of Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, with his bookplate to each volume. Harmswoth was a British newspaper and publishing magnate who exercised vast influence over British popular opinion. Gilt titles and tooling to the spine, all edges gilt. Includes: Paris Sketch Book, 2 volumes., 1840; Comic Tales and Sketches, 2 volumes., 1841; Irish Sketchbook, 2 volumes., 1843; Cornhill to Grand Cairo, 1846; Mrs. Perkins Ball, ; Book of Snobs, 1848; Our Street, 1848; Vanity Fair, 1848 (With the suppressed woodcut on p. 336, and “Mr. Pitt” on p. 453); Doctor Birch, 1849; History of Pendennis, 2 volumes., 1849-1850; Rebecca and Rowena, 1850; Kickleburys on the Rhine, 1850; Henry Esmond, 3 volumes., 1852; The English Humourists, 1853; The Newcomes, 2 volumes., 1854-1855; Miscellanies, 4 volumes., 1855-57; The Virginians, 2 volumes, 1858-59; Lovel the Widower, 1861; The Four Georges, 1861 (rare 1st issue); Adventures of Philip, 3 volumes, 1862; Denis Duval, 1867.
William Thackeray was an English novelist of the 19th century. He is famous for his satirical works, particularly Vanity Fair, a panoramic portrait of English society. Thackeray saw himself as writing in the realistic tradition, and distinguished his work from the exaggerations and sentimentality of Dickens. Some later commentators have accepted this self-evaluation and seen him as a realist, but others note his inclination to use eighteenth-century narrative techniques, such as digressions and direct addresses to the reader, and argue that through them he frequently disrupts the illusion of reality. The school of Henry James, with its emphasis on maintaining that illusion, marked a break with Thackeray's techniques.