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William Makepeace Thackeray’s Catherine : a story : a critical edition with commentaries Goldfarb, Sheldon F.


This dissertation consists of a critically edited text of William Makepeace Thackeray's first novel, Catherine, along with a complete set of annotations, an extensive textual apparatus, appendices reprinting the sources for the real-life murder story on which Thackeray based his novel, and commentaries discussing the politics of the novel, the textual history and textual difficulties of the novel, and the novel's literary and historical context. In the absence of the manuscript, the copy-text for this edition is the first edition from Eraser's Magazine in 1839-40, the only edition from Thackeray's lifetime. Following this copy-text, the present edition includes all the passages expurgated in posthumous editions, expurgations recorded in one section of the Textual Apparatus. Another section of the apparatus consists of a glossary of Thackeray's characteristic spellings and capitalizations, based on a study of his surviving manuscripts. This study suggests that the style of accidentals in the first edition is not Thackerayan. However, because of the difficulty of restoring Thackerayan accidentals, the first edition accidentals have in general been left untouched, with the only emendations in this edition (all of which are recorded in the apparatus) being those made to correct errors in the copy-text. The annotations to the edition, besides explaining obscurities in the text, indicate the command Thackeray had over his historical materials, reveal his borrowings from earlier authors, and point out motifs that recur in other works by him. The political commentary to the edition discusses Thackeray's adoption of the Tory politics of Eraser's in his novel even though his views at the time were Radical. The critical commentary discusses the alterations Thackeray made to his sources for the murder story and points out that although the novel originated as an attack on the Newgate school of fiction and the glorification of criminals, it in fact, for the most part, celebrates the rogues it depicts. The general introduction notes that despite the resulting inconsistency in the novel, Catherine contains many qualities - including narrative virtuosity, satirical cleverness, and a skilful presentation of picaresque adventures - which suggest that it should no longer be neglected

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