William Makepeace Thackeray

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What are the features of William Makepeace Thackeray's work?

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William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) is considered one of the major Victorian novelists. As he earned his living by his writing, he was a prolific author, composing journalism, art criticism, travel books, and humor as well as novels.

His work is distinguished by intrusive narrators, who at times address the reader directly and often discuss the characters in ironic, sardonic, or even dismissive tones. In his best known novel, Vanity Fair, his narrator refers to his characters as "my puppets." The major target of his satire is often the hypocritical or complacent, and he often makes fun both of conventional manners and of social climbers. Some of his most engaging characters are rogues, who flaunt social conventions and live by their wits. Stylistically, he is more realistic and less melodramatic than more Romantic novelists such as Bronte or Dickens.

Because Thackeray, as most novelists of his period, first published his work in serial form in periodicals, his books have a characteristic Victorian structure, with cliffhangers, or unresolved plot tensions, at the end of each chapter. 

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