W. M. Thackeray's satirical classic about a woman determined to make her way in society - at any cost.
William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta in 1811. He was sent to England in 1817 and was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Following a period of gambling, unsuccessful investments and a brief career as a lawyer, he turned to writing and drawing. In 1836 he married Isabella Shawe; following the birth of their second daughter, her mental health deteriorated and she had to be permanently supervised by a private nurse. Thackeray's first novel, Catherine, was published in 1839-40. Following the success of Vanity Fair (1847-8) he was able to devote himself to fiction, and his other notable works include Pendennis (1849), The History of Henry Esmond (1852) and The Newcomes (1855). He also edited the commercially successful Cornhill Magazine, which published writers such as Tennyson, George Eliot and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Thackeray died suddenly on Christmas Eve, 1863.