This book, the second of two volumes anticipating the bicentenary of the birth of William Makepeace Thackeray in 1811, details not only the author's life, but also the cosmopolitan and literary worlds inhabited by his two daughters, Minny and Annie.
Memory and Legacy continues the family saga long after Thackeray's death, tracing the later lives of his two daughters and their marriages. Minny would marry Leslie Stephen, later father of Virginia Woolf, but would die in premature labour at the age of just thirty-five. With her death, the narrative takes as its focus Thackeray's elder daughter Annie, as she overcomes the loss of her sister and goes on to build a life of her own. Encouraged in early years by her father, Annie would herself emerge as a successful novelist, though one always living, albeit willingly, within her father's shadow. In particular, she took responsibility for guarding and shaping her father's legacy until her own death in 1919.
Drawing extensively on the letters, diaries, journals and notebooks of the Thackerays and their circle, Aplin sheds light on this remarkable man's family, and the effect that his life, death and legacy had on those closest to him. The first biography of the Thackeray family circle since that of Gordon Ray in 1958, Aplin's two-part study incorporates significant new documentary evidence, some of it never previously seen by Thackeray scholars, and includes the fullest and frankest examination of the lives of Thackeray's two daughters yet published.
Illustrated with portraits, group photographs, and original sketches by the Thackerays, this book is a wholly new reappraisal of Thackeray's life, writing, and legacy through the lens that truly defined him - his family. It will appeal not just to those interested in Thackeray and the Victorians, but also to readers of biography, women's studies and memoirs, and to followers of Viriginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.