William Makepeace Thackeray’s career as a satirist and journalist contributed to his novelistic style. His works appeared in a number of periodicals, including The National Standard, which he owned; The Constitutional, for which he was Paris correspondent; and The New Monthly Magazine. More important, however, the bulk of his writing appeared in Fraser’s Magazine and in Punch, until, in 1860, he became editor of the Cornhill Magazine. In many of his reviews, short stories, burlesques, and travel writings, he adopts facetious pen names that reveal the snobbish preconceptions of his personae. “The Yellowplush Correspondence” appeared in Fraser’s Magazine in 1837-1838 as the supposed diary of Charles James Yellowplush, an illiterate footman who betrays all of the social prejudices of his employers. The story was later published as Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush in 1856.
Thackeray assumed two pseudonyms for some of his comic pieces. As M. A. Titmarsh, Thackeray published A Legend of the Rhine (1845), Mrs. Perkin’s Ball (1847), and The Rose and the Ring: Or, The History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (1855) among others, in addition to some nonfiction works such as The Paris Sketch Book (1840; 2 volumes), The Irish Sketch Book (1843; 2 volumes), and Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo (1846). As George Savage Fitz-Boodle, an aging and susceptible bachelor, Thackeray wrote The Fitz-Boodle Papers (1852), The Confessions of George Fitz-Boodle, and Some Passages in the Life of Major Gahagan (1841-1842), and Men’s Wives (1843). “Punch’s Prize Novelists,” which appeared in Punch magazine, was a series of parodies of popular novelists of the day, such as Benjamin Disraeli and James Fenimore Cooper, and was perhaps even more effective than the burlesque Catherine (which he wrote as Ikey Solomons, Jr.). Thackeray’s other achievements include The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century (1853) and The Four Georges: Sketches of Manners, Morals, Court and Town Life (1860); a number of tales and short stories, including A Shabby Genteel Story, and Other Tales (1852); and a series of ballads and verses, such as the nostalgic “The Ballad of Bouillabaisse” (1849).