The story of Catherine, which appeared in Fraser's Magazine in 1839-40, was written by Mr. Thackeray, under the name of Ikey Solomons, Jun., to counteract the injurious influence of some popular fictions of that day, which made heroes of highwaymen and burglars, and created a false sympathy for the vicious and criminal.
With this purpose, the author chose for the subject of his story a woman named Catherine Hayes, who was burned at Tyburn, in 1726, for the deliberate murder of her husband, under very revolting circumstances. Mr. Thackeray's aim obviously was to describe the career of this wretched woman and her associates with such fidelity to truth as to exhibit the danger and folly of investing such persons with heroic and romantic qualities.
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William Makepeace Thackeray was a nineteenth century English novelist who was most famous for his classic novel, Vanity Fair, a satirical portrait of English society. With an early career as a satirist and parodist, Thackeray shared a fondness for roguish characters that is evident in his early works such as Vanity Fair, The Luck of Barry Lyndon, and Catherine, and was ranked second only to Charles Dickens during the height of his career. In his later work, Thackeray transitioned from the satirical tone for which he was known to a more traditional Victorian narrative, the most notable of which is The History of Henry Esmond. Thackeray died in 1863.
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