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William Thackeray (1811-63) began as a journalist and produced his first critique in 1837, and his first novel in 1841. His association with Punch began in 1842 and articles continued until 1854. In 1851 he gave a series of lectures on 'The English Humourists of the Eighteenth Century' in cities around England and later the USA. This collection of potted biographies comprises Jonathan Swift; Congreve and Addison; Richard Steele; Prior, Gay and Pope; Hogarth, Smollet and Fielding; Sterne and Goldsmith. These seven lectures were delivered on Thackeray's American tour of 1852, but only the six lectures pertaining to English authors were published in England; the seventh - "Charity and Humour" - appeared here for the first time. These lectures were a great success with the Victorian public, and remain a witty, enjoyable and affectionate comment on the period by one of England's greatest writers.