William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863) was born in India to a long line of Yorkshire gentry recently mixed with equally ancient gentry. In 1817, two years after the death of his father, a prosperous official of the East India Company, the boy was sent back to England. There he underwent the proper education of a young gentleman, including rounds of laziness and dissipation at Cambridge, where he made the acquaintance of Tennyson and other notables, and later at the Middle Temple.
He next crossed to Paris, where he studied art and made a love match with Isabella Shawe, whom he married in 1836, overcoming strong maternal resistence. The couple returned to London, where Thackeray embarked on ten years as a journalistic hack-of-all-trades. He primarily worked for Fraser's Magazine, a sharp-witted and sharp-tongued conservative publication, for which he produced art criticism, short fictional sketches, and two longer fictional works, Catherine and The Luck of Barry Lyndon. He later wrote for Punch magazine, where he published The Snob Papers, later collected as The Book of Snobs. The serial publication of Vanity Fair in 1847–1848 ended Thackeray's days as a minor journalist, and he went on to become the author of miscellaneous satires and reviews, including essays, lectures, and seven novels. After a period of deteriorating health, Thackeray died during the early hours of December 24, 1863.