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The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.

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(1852)

A Colonel in the service of Her Majesty Queen Anne

Written by Himself

~

TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE

WILLIAM BINGHAM, LORD ASHBURTON.


MY DEAR LORD,

The writer of a book which copies the manners and language of Queen
Anne's time, must not omit the Dedication to the Patron; and I ask leave
to inscribe this volume to your Lordship, for the sake of the great
kindness and friendship which I owe to you and yours.

My volume will reach you when the Author is on his voyage to a country
where your name is as well known as here. Wherever I am, I shall
gratefully regard you; and shall not be the less welcomed in America
because I am,

Your obliged friend and servant,

W. M. THACKERAY.

LONDON, October 18, 1852.


~

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Recent Forum Posts on The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.

I am reading now

Henry Esmond, Thackeray's personal favorite of his novels, written with loving labor, so I have heard. I have also heard from a prolific reader friend that he thought it was tedious, despite Trollope's high recommendation. All this this made me curious. And this is coming from a guy who hasn't even read Vanity Fair, though I've read a good helping of Trollope and a little Dickens. So far I find nothing to object to, though I am only 77 pages in. I am enjoying the historical intrigue, and wondering what it is my friend found so tedious about it, as I am finding a captivating and magical, if thick and sometimes complicated delivery and writing style. I have had to do a lot of re reading of the same passages though, in this early stage of the book, and expect to reference to the beginning again as I progress, because its a historical novel and there is serious background detail that is very hard to take in at first. So far, the Henry Esmond is a kid living in a mansion called Castlewood, and he is telling his newcomer 'kinsman'(with Thackeray's help to us readers) about his past at Castlewood before they arrived. Some of it reminds me of David Copperfield, but with an 18th century edge to it and allusions to all the political intrigue with the church and Dutch aristocracy at the time, and how it upsets his home life. I love being so immersed in another time, by a writer of another time about a time earlier than his. But, though I am optimistic at this stage of my reading, maybe I will find things that drag on or that I don't like as I get further along. I don't know. I am determined to climb the mountain of Henry Esmond though! I will keep you updated on my progress and see if I can't recommend people to read it when I'm finished.

Text clarification in Book I, Chapter 2

In the family history that opens chapter 2: "'Tis known that the name of Esmond and the estate of Castlewood, com. Hants, came into possession of the present family through Dorothea, daughter and heiress of Edward, ... which lady married, 23 Eliz., Henry Poyns, gent.;..." what is meant by the designation 23 Eliz.? Is it standard Peerage terminology of the time, a date or age reference? Would love to be enlightened!

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