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British Writers and Paris 1830–1875$
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Elisabeth Jay

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655243

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655243.001.0001

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Thackeray’s debt to the print world of Paris

Thackeray’s debt to the print world of Paris

(p.204) 11 Thackeray’s debt to the print world of Paris
British Writers and Paris 1830–1875

Elisabeth Jay

Oxford University Press

This chapter contends, against a long tradition in Thackeray studies, that Thackeray’s time spent studying art and practising journalism in Paris strongly influenced the way in which he saw and represented the world. Though he was slower to establish a distinctive voice than his youthful rival in Paris, G. W. M. Reynolds, like him he learned how to use his narrative to manipulate the expectations of multiple audiences. Thackeray’s combing of French newsprint fed his interest in popular Parisian philologies. The typologies he discovered there are responsible for a miscarriage of biographical justice, but more importantly fed into his work for Punch and the career of Becky Sharp, while the artwork of Gavarni influenced the illustrated capitals adorning chapter headings in Vanity Fair.

Keywords:   artwork, biography, Gavarni, newsprint, philologies, Reynolds, Vanity Fair

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