By McMaster, R. D. McMaster

This examine of "The Newcomes" explores the cultural density came upon in the novel and divulges how Thackeray exploited allusion which will current an archetypal and cyclical imaginative and prescient of existence, wondering the prestige and price of fictions and blurring differences among historical past and fiction.

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Stowe, the drugging and burning of wives in Suttee, The Arabian Nights, and British marriage), the narrator reflects that when parents are preparing their daughters for marriage he prefers 'not to call at their mansion, No. 1000 in Grosvenor Square, but to partake of a dinner of herbs rather than of that stalled ox which their cook is roasting whole' (p. 364).

220) recalls that schoolroom context, and Warrington, when the Colonel has entered Grey Friars as a poor brother, trolls out ten 'noble lines of the old poet' (from Peele's 'The Aged Man-at-Arms') suited to the occasion (p. 966): A man at arms must now serve on his knees, And feed on prayers, which are old age's alms. As such quotations are apt intertexts, they are also social signifiers, indications of class, culture and status, gratifyingly so understood by the characters and in a sense so received by middle-class readers.

Clive gives us an idea of how tiresome the conventional domestic pattern can be when he marries the mindless Rasey. Thomas Newcome, Colonel Newcome, and Clive, all three show a family propensity for marrying sweet, feckless women, and both Clive and the Colonel nourish a wistful extramarital love: 'It's fatal, it runs in the family, father', says Clive (p. 879). The attenuated spirit of the wives they settle for is indirectly suggested by how easily they succumb to early death (like David Copperfield's Dora).

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