Memory and Legacy: A Thackeray Family Biography 1876-1919

By John Aplin

Volume II of a major biographical study of William Thackeray and his family, including shedding new light on the lives of his daughters Minny and Annie.

ISBN: 9780718892258


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.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Pages 320

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

Formerly Head of the Department of Performing Arts at Brunel University, John Aplin has been pursuing independent and extensive research on the Thackeray family since 2001. In 2006 he published A True Affection: Anne Thackeray Ritchie and the Tennysons. Memory and Legacy follows the first volume of his study of the Thackerays, The Inheritance of Genius, also published by The Lutterworth Press.


List of Illustrations
Prelude and Acknowledgements

1. This Something Come into my Life (1875-1877)
2. Shadows of the Past (1877-1881)
3. After All a Lifetime (1882-1885)
4. The Lights of the Hills (1886-1889)
5. My Little Dream of an Edition (1890-1893)
6. That History Has Lasted On (1894-1895)
7. That Divided Life (1896-1899)
8. The Continuance of Love (1900-1909)
9. Such a Little Time for Me (1910-1914)
10. The End of a Long Day’s Work (1915-1919)

Thackeray and Ritchie Family Tree
Abbreviations and Sources
Select Bibliography


Endorsements and Reviews

Thanks to a meticulous research of extensive manuscript collections of Anne Thackeray Ritchie papers, including her letters, diaries, journals and notebooks, kept in various locations in Britain and the United States, as well as other related manuscripts and published collections, Professor Aplin adds a great deal of information to Thackeray family biographies published earlier … John Aplin’s Memory and Legacy: A Thackeray Biography, 1876-1919, is a feast for Victorianists and readers looking for biographies of Victorians. Aplin has sympathetically and minutely portrayed the fruitful and fulfilled life of Annie Thackeray Ritchie in a book that is as knowledgeable as it is compelling. The Lutterworth Press publication is a timely and valuable addition to both Thackeray and Victorian studies.
Dr Andrzej Diniejko, on Victorian Web

This book was a treat from beginning to end … All in all this is an absorbing read, and will appeal to a very wide readership, not only those who enjoy literary biography and have a particular interest in Thackeray, but to anyone interested in social and family history.
Mandy Jenkinson,

… delightful original sketches by William Makepeace Thackeray and his two daughters … a great deal of new material … essential reading for anyone interested in Virginia Woolf and her Victorian heritage and background.
Hilary Newman, in The Virginia Woolf Bulletin

The chief value of this biography for Thackeray scholars lies in its thorough exploration and accessible presentation of a hitherto undocumented research archive. … Although Aplin does not directly address the issue of gender difference, the biography sheds light on the customary role of the female dependant (either wife or daughter) of the ‘great man’ within nineteenth-century biographical discourse, a role requiring both self-effacement and a surrogate form of self-assertion.
Richard Salmon, in Journal of Historical Biography, Vol 9, Spring 2011

There can be no doubt that both collections by Aplin will enhance scholar’s understanding of Thackeray but their greatest contribution will be to researchers of Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s life.
Clare Horrocks, in Journal of Victorian Culture, Vol. 17 (2)

John Aplin has succeeded in resituating Thackeray the public author within a domestic, private history of daughters, cousins and generations. … Aplin writes well, balancing a sense of drama with a judicious use of evidence to make this family history compelling and readable.
Judith L. Fisher, Trinity University, in English Studies, Vol 94, No 5