Monday, June 19, 2006 06/19/06-William Thackeray

In today's excerpt, William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), an English novelist famous for his satirical works, especially Vanity Fair, a portrait of middle class English society. Often compared to his contemporary, Charles Dickens, his writings are seen as cynical and detached while Dickens often lapsed into sentimentality. Charlotte Bronte was an admirer and dedicated to him the second edition of Jane Eyre. A sample of his wit and wisdom:

"I never know whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses."

"Despair is perfectly compatible with a good dinner, I promise you."

"Let a man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim: Attacking is the only secret. Dare and the world yields, or if it beats you sometimes, dare it again and you will succeed."

"At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new."

" 'Tis not the dying for a faith that's so hard, Master Harry--every man of every nation has done that--'tis the living up to it that is difficult." The History of Henry Esmond

"To endure is greater than to dare, to tire out hostile fortune, to be daunted by no difficulty, to keep heart while all have lost it, to go through intrigue spotless, to forego even ambition when the end is gained-- who can say this is not greatness?"

"Remember, it's as easy to marry a rich woman as a poor woman."


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