The History of Henry Esmond: Esq. A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne

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MobileReference, Dec 15, 2009 - 316 pages
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This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This booktable of contents linked to every book and chapter. ******************. The History of Henry Esmond is a historical novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, originally published in 1852. The book tells the story of the early life of Henry Esmond, a colonel in the service of Queen Anne of England. A typical example of Victorian historical novels, Thackeray''s work of historical fiction tells its tale against the backdrop of late 17th- and early 18th-century England OCo specifically, major events surrounding the English Restoration OCo and utilizes characters both real (but dramatized) and imagined. Using sporadically the first and third persons, Henry Esmond, himself, relates his own history in memoir fashion. The novel opens on Henry as a boy OCo the supposedly illegitimate (and eventually orphaned) son of George, the third Viscount Castlewood, and cousin of the Jacobite fourth viscount, Francis, and his wife, the Lady Castlewood. These successors to the Castlewood estate and peerage, following the death of Henry''s father, foster the boy, and he remains with them throughout his youth and early adulthood. As he comes of age he joins the unsuccessful campaign to restore James Francis Edward Stuart to the English throne, but eventually comes to accept the Protestant future of England. He falls in love with his cousin (daughter of his patron, Castlewood), Beatrix, but eventually marries his foster-mother (also his cousin, and Beatrix''s mother), Rachel, Lady Castlewood. The novel closes on the couple''s emigration to Virginia in 1718. OCo Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."

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About the author (2009)

William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta, India, where his father was in service to the East India Company. After the death of his father in 1816, he was sent to England to attend school. Upon reaching college age, Thackeray attended Trinity College, Cambridge, but he left before completing his degree. Instead, he devoted his time to traveling and journalism. Generally considered the most effective satirist and humorist of the mid-nineteenth century, Thackeray moved from humorous journalism to successful fiction with a facility that was partially the result of a genial fictional persona and a graceful, relaxed style. At his best, he held up a mirror to Victorian manners and morals, gently satirizing, with a tone of sophisticated acceptance, the inevitable failure of the individual and of society. He took up the popular fictional situation of the young person of talent who must make his way in the world and dramatized it with satiric directness in The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1844), with the highest fictional skill and appreciation of complexities inherent within the satiric vision in his masterpiece, Vanity Fair (1847), and with a great subtlety of point of view and background in his one historical novel, Henry Esmond (1852). Vanity Fair, a complex interweaving in a vast historical panorama of a large number of characters, derives its title from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and attempts to invert for satirical purposes, the traditional Christian image of the City of God. Vanity Fair, the corrupt City of Man, remains Thackeray's most appreciated and widely read novel. It contrasts the lives of two boarding-school friends, Becky Sharp and Amelia Smedley. Constantly attuned to the demands of incidental journalism and his sense of professionalism in his relationship with his public, Thackeray wrote entertaining sketches and children's stories and published his humorous lectures on eighteenth-century life and literature. His own fiction shows the influence of his dedication to such eighteenth-century models as Henry Fielding, particularly in his satire, which accepts human nature rather than condemns it and takes quite seriously the applicability of the true English gentleman as a model for moral behavior. Thackeray requested that no authorized biography of him should ever be written, but members of his family did write about him, and these accounts were subsequently published.

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