chapter  2
37 Pages

The Bildungsroman and advertising

Thackeray’s Pendennis novels
ByAlice Crossley

William Makepeace Thackeray's Bildungsroman Pendennis, published in monthly instalments from 1848 to 1850, emerged concurrently with Charles Dickens's David Copperfield. Serial publication also served to establish Thackeray's reputation, so that the simultaneous appearance of Pendennis and David Copperfield encouraged comparison of these two part-issue works in the Prospective Review. The structured form of the Bildungsroman is mirrored by the textual conditions of publication, which allow the initial audience to experience their own development alongside the progress of Pen, Clive, and Philip as adolescents. The inclusion of advertisements is one way in which Pendennis and The Newcomes, as part-issue serialised Bildungsromane, reminds the reader of the texts' self-conscious fictionality because they intrude into the fictional world of the novels. Pendennis narrates a young man's literary career, seen as an important stage in Pen's adolescent self-development and increasing independence, and which is famously a semi-autobiographical account of Thackeray's youth and own early journalistic efforts.