[The following passage comes from the Project Gutenberg online edition of Trollope's Thackeray prepared by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lisa Reigel, and the Project Gutenberg proofreading team. The decorated initial 'T' is based the one on a Thackeray designed for Vanity Fair. — George P. Landow]

[“Henry Esmond I regard as the greatest work that Thackeray did . . . [amd] I rank it so high as to justify me in placing him among the small number of the highest class of English novelists.” — Anthony Trollope

decorated initial 'I' based on a Thackeray illustration

It was the tone of Thackeray's mind to turn away from the prospect of things joyful, and to see,—or believe that he saw,—in all human affairs, the seed of something base, of something which would be antagonistic to true contentment. All his snobs, and all his fools, and all his knaves, come from the same conviction. Is it not the doctrine on which our religion is founded,—though the sadness of it there is alleviated by the doubtful promise of a heaven? . . . So it was that Thackeray preached his sermon. But melancholy though it be, the lesson taught in Esmond is salutary from beginning to end. The sermon truly preached is that glory can only come from that which is truly glorious, and that the results of meanness end always in the mean. No girl will be taught to wish to shine like Beatrix, nor will any youth be made to think that to gain the love of such a one it can be worth his while to expend his energy or his heart.



Trollppe, Anthony. Thackeray. “English Men of Letters series.” London: Macmillan, 1879. Web. Project Gutenberg. E-text prepared by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Lisa Reigel. 4 August 2013

Victorian Overview Authors William Makepeace Thackeray

Last modified 4 August 2013