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W. M. THACKERAY
EDITED WITH AN INTRODUCTION AND EXPLANATORY
AND CRITICAL NOTES
WILLIAM LYON PHELPS
A.M. (Harvard) PH.D. (Yale)
In a number of the London Spectator, dated exactly forty-seven years ago to-day, the reviewer of Thackeray's new book on the English Humourists remarked, “ All will be interested in looking over the accompanying notes, (which might have been and may yet be made more complete).” To the best of my knowledge, this suggestion in the Spectator—with the exception of a few bracketed foot-notes added to the Biographical Edition-has never been heeded, and since the editio princeps of 1853 there has never appeared an annotated edition of these famous lectures. As they are particularly allusive, the need for explanatory notes is a real one, and in this instance I have therefore chosen to err on the side of fullness rather than be incomplete. Many readers and students may feel some irritation at finding things elucidated that in their judgment require no comment; but on the other hand it is hoped that few will look to the Notes for necessary explanations, and look in vain.
The text of this edition, with the regular foot-notes, is taken, by the kind permission of Messrs. Harper and Brothers, from the Biographical Edition of Thackeray's Works. Except in a few obvious typographical errors, I have followed this standard text verbatim et