William Harrison Ainsworth (1803-82)
William Harrison wrote some forty historical novels of which the best known are Toodwood, Jack Shepherd, The Tower of London, Old St. Paul’s and Lancashire Witches. Ainsworth’s novels do not have subtle delineation of character, the diction of his heroes and heroines is often absurdly stilted; and he has little reverence for probability. Though his tales are frequently lurid and violent, they are written with gusto and energy. Ainsworth is too shoddy to be ranked as a first-rate novelist, but he certainly impressed upon many of his readers, who would otherwise have been unaware of the fact that there is such a subject as history. His novels are readable enough though contemporary critics found fault with him for his idealization of rogues.
George P.R. James’s (1801-60)
James’s novel Richelieu, A Tale of France (1829) bears a strong resemblance to Scott’s novel Quentin Durward. It was his earliest novel and is by many considered to be his best novel. Others include Darnley, or the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1830), Delorme (1830), The Gipsey (1834) and Lord Montagu’s Page (1858). George James…show more content… Thackeray paints the life of the Eighteenth century in his novel Henry Esmond, the kings and generals, as well as the commoners, the writers and the coffee houses. He brings history down from the skies to the common Earth. Henry Esmond is the most perfect work in English fiction. It is a historical novel of great length and complexity. It presents a minute and accurate knowledge of the time of Queen Anne and an extraordinary faculty for reproducing both the style and the atmosphere of the period. The age of Queen Anne comes back to life in the pages of the novel. It has been remarked that the very style and diction have been modeled by Thackeray upon the eighteenth century prose of Addison and Steele. To quote William J.