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NOTE TO THE

KENSINGTON EDITION

The design of the Kensington Edition is to present the works of Thackeray as it may be assumed the lovers of Thackeray prefer to see them: with the utmost care for correctness of text and convenience of arrangement, but without useless or impertinent editorial machinery; in a form that permits clearness and beauty of type without cumbrousness in the volumes, and that preserves the individual characteristics which older readers associate with the original editions. All of Thackeray's illustrations are retained, and are reproduced from first impressions, both for clearness and to avoid the tampering of engravers with later plates, evident in many even of the earlier sets. Doyle's, Du Maurier's and Fred Walker's drawings have also been included, with the

same care.

In beginning with the four great novels the edition follows the logical tradition of the first complete and revised edition published after Thackeray's death; an attempt at a strict chronological succession, which would

give precedence to minor works, would confuse the reader and has only pedantic arguments in its favor, In general, the order followed is that of the edition referred to (that of 1869); but some slight variations have been made, sometimes for the sake of bringing closer together work of the same general kind, sometimes, where no important associations were violated -frankly in the interest of uniformity in the size of volumes.

It is believed that the inclusion for the first time in this edition of the well-known Brookfield Letters will be especially welcome.

The frontispiece to the initial volume is from the drawing by Samuel Laurence, perhaps the most satisfactory portrait of Thackeray in his prime; and in later volumes other portraits will be given, including several unfamiliar photographs.

We know from Mrs. Ritchie that Vanity Fair was written in 1845 and the two-and-a-half years following, -its ending marked for us with unusual exactness by a letter on July 2nd, 1848: “Vanity Fair is this instant done, and I have worked so hard that I can hardly hold a pen and say God bless my dearest old mother.” It was chiefly written at No. 13 Young Street, Kensington, where Thackeray lived from 1846 to 1853. It was published by Bradbury and Evans in twenty monthly numbers, beginning in January, 1847. A fac-simile of

the original title-page as finally adopted is given here, and also one of the design used on the covers of the monthly numbers-referred to humorously by Thackeray in Chapter VIII (vol. i, p. 116).

The picture of 13 Young Street, which forms the frontispiece to the second volume, is from the sketch by Mr. Eyre Crowe, A.R.A.

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