Wednesday 26 March 2014

Thackeray, William Makepeace "Vanity Fair"

Thackeray, William Makepeace "Vanity Fair, or, A Novel without a Hero" - 1848

Okay, so William Makepeace Thackeray is not a Jane Austen. But I didn't expect him to be. He is also not a Charles Dickens. However, he is a valuable classic British writer, someone who made himself a name and who deservedly belongs among the list of great authors. If I had to compare him to any classic writers, I'd say Oscar Wilde comes pretty close.

Seldom have I seen such a persiflage of aristocratic England and its surroundings. The author tries to answer the old question how important rank and money really is? The protagonist of this novel, Miss Rebecca Sharp, called Becky, is born into not too favourable circumstances in the mid 19th century. The author describes the way she tries to find her footing in society, her successes and her downfalls. But there is not just Rebecca Sharp, even she would not have been able to fill a thousand pages of a book. There is her friend Amelia Sedley who also has her share in the problems of a young lady of the time. And then there are countless guys who surround our two, shall we call her heroines? W.M. Thackeray called his novel "Vanity far, or, A Novel without a Hero", that does not mean it cannot have a heroine. For me, there are two. At the time, a woman without a man was nothing. And our two girls have a lot of troubles to go through with or without the help of their fellow men.

An interesting story, partly humorous, partly sad, but overall well written.

Quote: "Which of us is happy in this world" Which of us has his desire? Or, having it, is satisfied?"

From the back cover: 
"Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, first published in 1847–1848, satirizing society in early 19th-century Britain. The book's title comes from John Bunyan's allegorical story The Pilgrim's Progress, first published in 1678 and still widely read at the time of Thackeray's novel. Vanity Fair refers to a stop along the pilgrim's progress: a never-ending fair held in a town called Vanity, which is meant to represent man's sinful attachment to worldly things. The novel is now considered a classic, and has inspired several film adaptations."


  1. I read this recently. It is an interesting novel. Definitely not Austen or Dickens. :)

  2. I read this one a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot.

  3. Again, I am glad you agree. And it's the same two people again. We should start book discussions here. ;-)

    Have a good day,