GEORGE ELIOT, from a letter, 13 November 1852
We are neither surprised nor disappointed by this first complete novel from the skilful pen of the author of Vanity Fair. We knew the level below which the genius of Mr. Thackeray would not fall, and above which its wings are not solicitous to soar. Every intelligent reader of Pendennis must have taken a tolerably fair gauge of the writer’s powers and aspirations when he closed the last page of that volume. It had followed, with the accustomed celerity of popular serials, close upon the heels of Vanity Fair, and all the faults, as well as some of the good points of the first-in many respects most admirable-production were repeated. In both works we had that incomparably easy and unforced style in which Mr. Thackeray has courage to narrate his story and describe his incidents; in both we had the same partial and unpleasant
view of men and things; in both there presented themselves to our unquestionable annoyance and for our improper delight virtuous characters as insipid as they were good, and wicked personages as amusing as they were naughty.