First off, two friends were kind enough to mention that they'd read this blog, so I better start using the spell-check application! I thought it was just my dad occasionally checking, but I'll humor myself into thinking I have a readership and put in a little effort henceforth.
I saved a boatload of time today--instead of retyping all of the relevant passages from Barry Lyndon, I opened the novel up on gutenberg.org, (thank God for the 100yr copyright lapse), searched for the passages I'd marked in the book, and copied and pasted them in my 40+ page Word document of Thackeray's original writings I have lined up for my CH 1 rewrite (which should only be 40 pages itself... anyone else seeing my problem here...) After each passage I made several observations/insights and am nearly ready to start putting this complex jigsaw puzzle together.
On another note, I read Laura Berol's interesting article, "Irish Prisoners and the Indictment of British Rule" which focuses on works by Thackeray and Trollope. My only concern is that it seems to place the Thackeray and Trollope in the light of champions of the Irish, speaking out against English oppression. yes, Thackeray's wife was Anglo-Irish and Trollope lived in Ireland working for the postal service and both formed many attachments in the country. And yes, in novels like Eye for an Eye, Trollope casts the Irish-English problem in the form of two characters, an upper class Englishman and the poor Irish girl he impregnates and won't marry, clearly sympathizing with the Irish position. But such metaphors cast the Irish as rustic, naive, helpless, etc. Similarly, in Barry Lyndon and the Irish Sketchbook, Thackeray is clearly exploring/questioning the English treatment of both the Irish and Catholics, but he's by no means their champion.
I think this has become a problem in literary criticism: sharp scholars start writing/analyzing such works while already idolizing the author they are considering; instead of reading objectively, they are reading for the purpose of seeing the author as they want to see him/her. If you told me Mark Twain wasn't even a tiny bit racist or Hemingway wasn't the least bit sexist, I'd ask if we're reading the same books. Thackeray was torn, and that's what's driving my study and, what I feel, makes him so interesting as an author. He was torn about his views on Irishmen, Catholics, Jewish citizens, and was pretty much racist towards Indians and Blacks throughout his career, but all of this is an original reflection of British political and social upheaval in the mid-nineteenth century. Food for thought.... now on to real food... I made lasagna...