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Newcomes


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A novel by Thackeray, published in numbers 1853–5.

The story, told by Arthur Pendennis, is concerned with the descendants of a self‐made man, Thomas Newcome. His eldest son, Colonel Thomas Newcome, is a simple, unworldly soldier, who has lived most of his life in India. In contrast, his half‐brothers Hobson and Brian are wealthy and pretentious. Colonel Newcome is a widower, and his only son Clive is sent home to England to be educated. When Clive is almost grown up, his father returns from India. Clive loves his cousin Ethel, daughter of Sir Brian Newcome, but Ethel's brother Barnes and her grandmother Lady Kew intend her to make a grand marriage. Ethel allows herself to become engaged first to her cousin, Lord Kew, and then to Lord Farintosh. The disastrously unhappy marriage of Barnes, who treats his wife so badly that she runs away with a former admirer, Jack Belsize, makes Ethel decide that she will not marry at all, but will devote herself to her brother's children. Meanwhile Clive has been manœuvred into marriage to a pretty, superficial girl, Rosey Mackenzie. When Colonel Newcome's fortune is lost, Clive and Rosey are reduced to extreme poverty, and Rosey's mother makes life so intolerable for the Colonel that he finally takes refuge from her by becoming a pensioner in the Grey Friars almshouse, where he dies. Rosey has also died, and Thackeray allows the reader to assume that Clive and Ethel will get married.

Subjects: Literature.


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Authors

William Makepeace Thackeray (1811—1863) novelist


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