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Vanity Fair (97 Edition)by William Makepeace Thackeray
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
A deliciously satirical attack on a money-mad society, Vanity Fair, which first appeared in 1847, is an immensely moral novel, and an immensely witty one. Called in its subtitle “A Novel Without a Hero,” Vanity Fair has instead two heroines: the faithful, loyal Amelia Sedley and the beautiful and scheming social climber Becky Sharp. It also engages a huge cast of wonderful supporting characters as the novel spins from Miss Pinkertons academy for young ladies to affairs of love and war on the Continent to liaisons in the dazzling ballrooms of London. Thackerays forte is the bon mot and it is amply exercised in a novel filled with memorably wicked lines. Lengthy and leisurely in pace, the novel follows the adventures of Becky and Amelia as their fortunes rise and fall, creating a tale of both picaresque and risqué. Thackery mercilessly skewers his society, especially the upper class, poking fun at their shallow values and pointedly jabbing at their hypocritical “morals.” His weapons, however, are not fire and brimstone but an unerring eye for the absurd and a genius for observation of the foibles of his age. An enduring classic, this great novel is a brilliant study in duplicity and hypocrisy…and a mirror with which to view our own times.
"Vanity Fair" is a story of two heroines--one humble, the other scheming and social-climbing--who meet in boarding school and embark on markedly different lives. Amid the swirl of London's posh ballrooms and affairs of love and war, their fortunes rise and fall. Through it all, Thackeray lampoons the shallow values of his society, reserving the most pointed barbs for the upper crust. What results is a prescient look at the dogged pursuit of wealth and status--and the need for humility. Reprint.
About the Author
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY was born in India to a long line of Yorkshire gentry recently mixed with equally ancient gentry. In 1817, two years after the death of his father a prosperous official of the East India Company, the boy was sent back to England. There he underwent the proper education of a young gentleman, including rounds of laziness and dissipation at Cambridge, where he made the acquaintance of Tennyson and other notables, and later at the Middle Temple.
He next crossed to Paris, where he studied art and made a love match with Isabella Shawe, whom he married in 1836, overcoming strong maternal resistence. The couple returned to London, where Thackeray embarked on ten years as a journalistic hack-of-all-trades. Meanwhile, two daughters were born and lived, Anne (1837) and Minny (1840), but one, Jane (1838) died after eight months. The serial publication of VANITY FAIR in 1847-48 ended Thackeray's days as a minor journalist and he went on to become the author of miscellaneous satires and reviews, including essays, lectures, and seven novels. After a period of deteriorating health, Thackeray died during the early hours of December 24th, 1863.
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