William Makepeace Thackeray’s life (1811 – 1863) was quite adventurous, like the one of his characters.
He was born in
, where his father was an officer in the Civil Service of the East India Company. Orphan at five, he was sent to Calcutta London and then to . The future writer left the University without a degree (= laurea) and went to Cambridge Paris and to study art. He never became a great artist, but his studies in Weimar Germany and prepared him for his literary career. In 1832 he inherited a fortune which might have enabled him to live on his income (= che avrebbe potuto farlo vivere di interessi) ; but in a year or two it was all gone (= aveva perso tutto). Then it became necessary for him to work for a living (= guardagnarsi da vivere), and he turned to literature. His sketches and stories in Fraser’s Magazine were highly successful. Then he wrote to other newspapers, and especially for Punch. France
His first novel, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, appeared on the Fraser’s magazine in 1844, then it was published as The Memoire of Barry Lyndon in 1856. His masterpiece, the novel which gave him fame and money, was Vanity Fair, published in 1848. It is not a story of faultless heroes( = eroi senza macchia) and abandoned villains(= cattivi abbandonati) , but of “good people who have their faults, and bad people who have their virtues”. It shows meanness (= bassezze) , wickedness (= cattiverie) and folly (= follia) combined with weatlth and respectability. Thackeray painted men and women with all their faults (= colpe) and idiosyncrasies (= manie) as well as their modest virtues, using a fresh and idiomatic language
Vanity Fair was followed by The History of Arthur Pendennis (1850), The History of Henry Esmond, Esq. (1852), The Newcomers (1855) and The Virginians (1857).
When his fame was established, Thackeray started appearing as a public lecturer both in
England and in . the first series of lectures was on The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century, the second on The Four Georges. America
He died suddenly on Christmas Eve 1863.