Fogeyfied, respectable, fond of literature…

This is a big year for famous 200th birthdays: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s just passed, and William Makepeace Thackeray’s is coming up soon (July 18th). As a Victorian author, Thackeray was rivaled only by Charles Dickens in popularity, and like Dickens he crossed the Atlantic to travel through America on a well-attended (and profitable) national tour. Providence was among his stops, and this is his assessment of the city, offered in a letter to a friend in December of 1855:

“Providence is as jolly a place as Boston almost. There is always a knot of pleasant folks, fogeyfied, respectable, fond of literature with whom it is jolly to consort, and I shall remember Lawyer Ames and a nice old University Library and a half-dozen fellows with kindness always.”*

Thackeray’s birthday is being celebrated with an exhibition of his life and works at Harvard’s Houghton Library (opening July 18th), accompanied by a symposium in October.


* The Letters and Private Papers of William Makepeace Thackeray, edited by Gordon Ray, (Cambridge: Harvard UP,1945-6), p. 530 (letter # 1192).

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s