By C. P. Snow
The fourth within the Strangers and Brothers sequence starts with the demise grasp of a Cambridge collage.
His impending loss of life explanations excessive competition and jealousy among the opposite fellows.
Former neighbors develop into enemies because the election looms.
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Extra resources for The Masters (Strangers and Brothers, Book 4)
Thackeray, like his puppet Becky Sharp, seems always to have been a gifted mimic, and his parodies in Punch are among the best the Victorian period has to offer. It is certainly the case that, in the early 1840s, he had plenty of worthwhile targets. His series for Punch launched in 1847, 舠Punch舗s Prize Novelists舡 (later called 舠Novels by Eminent Hands舡), offered blistering parodies of some of the more successful genres of the day, genres that come in for much mockery in Vanity Fair. First among these is the vogue for 舠silver-fork fiction舡 that erupted in the 1820s and was associated most notably with Catherine Gore, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and Benjamin Disraeli.
Excused from physical activity because of his nearsightedness, he spends time drawing. 1828 Thackeray enters Trinity College, Cambridge, where he is happier as a student but still largely uninterested in the curriculum. 1830 He leaves Cambridge without a degree and travels to Weimar, Germany, the intellectual capital of Europe, where he becomes ac quainted with German Romantic literature and meets its guiding spirit, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. His observations of court life in Germany will provide material for his description of the princi pality of Pumpernickel in Vanity Fair; that book also reflects a skepticism about religious doctrine that grew during this trip.
History is a shock from above in Vanity Fair, and the novel舗s characters are powerless to stop or divert these shocks; the best they can do is absorb them. Financial ruin and the death of a husband are the legacies of the Napoleonic Wars for Amelia; no victory for her, the great period of British peace and security is only an introduction to privation. Far from experiencing a triumphant entrance into a period of prosperity, Vanity Fair舗s characters seem to spend much of the novel舗s second half in a traumatized state, hiding from whatever new shocks may come.