'Brilliant... A most enjoyable and skilful biography' - A. N. Wilson
Vanity Fair, published in serial parts in 1847-8, made William Makepeace Thackeray famous 'all but at the top of the tree', he told his mother, 'and having a great fight up there with Dickens'. Behind him lay an extraordinary life - an intense, Anglo-Indian childhood, a fortune lost by his early twenties, a disastrous marriage to a wife who went mad and left him to bring up two small daughters in near penury.
But his later life was no less troubled. As D.J. Taylor shows in this incisive biography, Thackeray was a complex, touchy man, acutely sensitive to criticism and fearful of the publicity that accompanied his passage through life.
“An accomplished, responsible, imaginative reconstruction of life, and of a life. Thackeray has come home”
Victoria Glendinning, Spectator
“Wonderful... An outstanding biography. It is unlikely there will be a better one for years to come”
Kathryn Hughes, Mail on Sunday
“A compelling biography... Taylor succeeds always in evoking a rich sense of context...without losing the narrative momentum”
Michael Slater, New Statesman
“A richly detailed book... Taylor writes with verve and affection and is shrewdly perceptive”
John Carey, Sunday Times
“Outstanding... On every page there is evidence of a formidable critical and imaginative intelligence at work... A splendid book”
Frank McLynn, Evening Standard
“Taylor's awareness of the task of biography is just one of the many delights of this fond, yet not overly reverent account.'”
Independent on Sunday
“He's a gift of a subject to DJ Taylor (a novelist who loves to teem, and teems with brio)”