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The Rose and the Ring

William Makepeace Thackeray

Book Overview: 

Victorian social satire hiding in a set of children's fairy tales by the author of the classic "Vanity Fair"

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nd all other languages—she learned them from the teacher who came to Angelica. When the Princess was going out of an evening she would say, 'My good Betsinda, you may as well finish what I have begun.' 'Yes, miss,' Betsinda would say, and sit down very cheerful, not to FINISH what Angelica began, but to DO it.

For instance, the Princess would begin a head of a warrior, let us say, and when it was begun it was something like this—

But when it was done, the warrior was like this—

(only handsomer still if possible), and the Princess put her name to the drawing; and the Court and King and Queen, and above all poor Giglio, admired the picture of all things, and said, 'Was there ever a genius like Angelica?' So, I am sorry to say, was it with the Princess's embroidery and other accomplishments; and Angelica actually believed that she did these things herself, and received all the flattery of the Court as if every word of it was. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Hilarious biting satire about monarchies, heroes, heroines and Victorian mores, all in a faux-fairytale wrapper with illustrations and footnotes on each page, that when read in succession, make a poem describing the story's events.
I LOVE my 1934 Macmillan & Co edition with its red hardback cover emb

Wildly entertaining. Can’t wait to read it to my kids.

Inspired by a Christmas story devised for his daughters, Thackeray’s The Rose and The Ring is an old favourite. First published in 1854, subtitled “a fireside pantomime for great and small children,” it’s a wonderful parody of a traditional fairy tale, with a thinly-veiled satirical edge and a dash

Two kingdoms: Paflagonia and Crim Tartary.
Two rulers who have stolen the kingdom from the rightful heir.
A magical fairy who is weary of begifting newborns, disgusted with the results of earlier gifts of a magical rose and a magical ring which make the bearer appear the most beautiful of all, now pre

A cute and funny little book - if you get a copy with Thackeray's illustrations which are hilarious and frequently referred to in the text. The Puffin paperback I had as a child included them and I now have a vintage copy picked up in a boxed lot at a house sale. Very witty, among the cream of Victo

According to the author's introduction, this was intended to be put on as a dramatic presentation, or pantomime, at Christmastime, for children.

It was indeed published at Christmas (1854), but I'm not at all convinced that the main intended audience was children. This is, technically, a fairy tale,

From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
Unable to find any Christmas entertainment, Thackeray invents his own fireside pantomime - a story of kings, princesses, lions and battles. Stars Prunella Scales and Maureen Lipman.

Written initially by Thackeray as a 'fireside pantomime' in order to entertain some children while he was holidaying in Rome during the Christmas of 1854, 'The Rose and the Ring' is a mock fairy tale of misplaced heirs, malignant tyrants and magical amulets - an affable ancestor to the likes of The

I used to love this book as a child & still found it entertaining, especially the tongue-in-cheek approach to fairy tales.

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