Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair

Thackeray's upper-class Regency world is a noisy and jostling commercial fairground, predominantly driven by acquisitive greed and soulless materialism, in which the narrator himself plays a brilliantly versatile role as a serio-comic observer.
Although subtitled A Novel without a Hero, Vanity Fair follows the fortunes of two contrasting but inter-linked lives: through the retiring Amelia Sedley and the brilliant Becky Sharp, Thackeray examines the position of women in an intensely exploitative male world.
When Vanity Fair was published in 1848, Charlotte Brontë commented: ‘The more I read Thackeray’sworks the more certain I am that he stands alone – alone in his sagacity, alone in his truth, alone in his feeling… Thackeray is a Titan.’
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Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
Vanity Fair

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who was a wag in his way.
Yes, this is Vanity Fair; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy.
While the present century was in its teens,
What causes young people to "come out," but the noble ambition of matrimony? What sends them trooping to watering-places? What keeps them dancing till five o'clock in the morning through a whole mortal season? What causes them to labour at pianoforte sonatas, and to learn four songs from a fashionable master at a guinea a lesson, and to play the harp if they have handsome arms and neat elbows, and to wear Lincoln Green toxophilite hats and feathers, but that they may bring down some "desirable" young man with those killing bows and arrows of theirs? What causes respectable parents to take up their carpets, set their houses topsy-turvy, and spend a fifth of their year's income in ball suppers and iced champagne? Is it sheer love of their species, and an unadulterated wish to see young people happy and dancing? Psha! they want to marry their daughters

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