Chapter 7


Thackeray’s preface in the second edition of The Kickleburys on the Rhine. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1851. *EC85.T3255.850ka.

Thackeray responds to a critic in The Kickleburys on the Rhine (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1851)

On January 3, 1851, a month following the publication of Thackeray’s Christmas book, The Kickleburys on the Rhine, a review in the Times criticized him for lampooning people attempting to appear of a higher class. Several days later, Thackeray prepared a new preface for the second edition of Kickleburys, “Being an essay on thunder and small beer,” in which he responded to his critic, asking his readers to not take his work so seriously. “Last year I tried a brew which was old, bitter, and strong [Rebecca and Rowena]; and scarce any one would drink it. This year we send round a milder tap, and it is liked by customers: though the critics (who like strong ale, the rogues!) turn up their noses. In heaven’s name, Mr. Smith, serve round the liquor to the gentlefolks…it is Christmas time, it will do you no harm. It is not intended to keep long, this sort of drink.”
*EC85.T3255.850ka. Gift of Herbert L. Carlebach, 1957.