Books: Eminent Victorian

THE LETTERS AND PRIVATE PAPERS OF WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY, Volume I: 1817-1840; Volume II: 1841-1851 —Collected and Edited by Gordon N. Ray — Harvard University Press ($12.50).

William Makepeace Thackeray, the eminent Victorian novelist ( Vanity Fair, Pen-dennis), was a passionate gambler and for years indulged an enigmatic infatuation for the wife of a fashionable London clergyman. These somewhat Elizabethan lapses have been whispered about. But they could never be fully confirmed. Reason: before his death, Thackeray told his daughter, Anne, to see to it that there were no Thackeray biographies. She did—by the simple expedient of locking away the bulk of...

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