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The Newcomes

William Makepeace Thackeray

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . to depict the sublime, graceful, and pathetic personages and events with which this history will most assuredly abound, and I doubt whether even the designer engaged in his place can make such a portrait of Miss Ethel Newcome as shall satisfy her friends and her own sense of justice. That blush which we have indicated, he cannot render. How are you to copy it with a steel point and a ball of printer's ink? That kindness which lights up the Colonel's eyes; gives an expression to the very wrinkles round about them; shines as a halo round his face;—what artist can paint it? The painters of old, when they portrayed sainted personages, were fain to have recourse to compasses and gold leaf—as if celestial splendour could be represented by Dutch metal! As our artist cannot come up to this task, the reader will be pleased to let his fancy paint for itself the look of courtesy for a woman, admiration for a young beauty, protection for an innocent child, all of which a. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Although 213 people have given ratings to Thackeray’s Newcomes on Goodreads and 14 people have written reviews, I haven’t met anybody who has even heard of the book let alone read it. I’ve now read all 801 pages and enjoyed the novel, but I understand why it is largely forgotten. It is horribly over

For the life of me, I don’t know why I seldom hear of this novel. Even from fans of “Vanity Fair,” and fans of Victorian literature.

It contains nearly everything I could want from such literature. A duel. A Christmas miracle. A formidable young lady. The East India Company. Aspiring painters & writ

Ever since I read "Vanity Fair" in college I thought that Thackery was one of the most brilliant novelists in British history. "The Newcomes" displays the author's exceptional talent in a number of its episodes, but the gaping hole in this book is the hero, who is a dull, mopey, and in many regards

This is a real 19th-century potboiler with few literary pretensions - and I mean that in a good way. I ended up reading most of it in large chunks because I couldn't bring myself to put it down.

The flavour of the writing reminded me strongly of "Vanity Fair", which turned out not to be a surprise be

I didn't enjoy this as much as Thackeray's Vanity Fair, and I can understand why it's not read too much today (despite being very popular until about 100 years ago). While there are moments of both sly humor and true pathos to pull you in, it's not the kind of story that transcends its time. For exa

[2023]: Finished rereading this while I had COVID (bad fever, aches, tiny bit of delirium) and that is not a position you want to be in if you're going to withstand the sentiment and emotion in one of the greatest and most Victorian Victorian novels. Colonel Newcome, man.

[2016]: The Pendennises are

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