Thackeray is one of the most successful pasticheurs in the language, so accomplished in his evocation of the eighteenth century that we are barely conscious of the mechanisms by which he achieves success in the field. This article examines some of the ways in which he achieves a period color in Henry Esmond through an habitual aurea mediocritas in his judgments of character and also by judiciously blending eighteenth-century allusions (to The Rape of the Lock and Gray's “Ode to Adversity” among them) into the texture of his prose.

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