Thackeray’s presence in recent scholarship, on present-day syllabi, and on present-day nightstands still pales in comparison to his popularity in the Victorian period and to the relative investments we have in Dickens, Eliot, and other Victorians. But the last twelve or so years nevertheless feel like something of a Thackeray resurgence, at least in scholarship. This article reviews here more than twenty-five pieces of scholarship, a fifth of what we might typically see on Dickens in the same period, but that scholarship includes some exciting, insightful, and transformative thinking, particularly about genre and prose style. Reasons innumerable weigh against a revival of Thackeray’s popularity, foremost of which may simply be the length of his mature work, which can be too difficult to balance with other texts on syllabi sensitive to the attention spans and extracurricular demands of many students. As it happens, inattention, interruption, productive reverie, and distraction are the preeminent virtues that Nicholas Dames ascribes to Thackeray’s fiction and Victorian theories of fiction in “Distraction’s Negative Liberty: Thackeray and Attention,” from The Physiology of the Novel (2007), which is unquestionably one of the most perceptive, ingenious, and influential accounts of Thackeray in the past twenty-five years.

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