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Vanity Fair [Kindle Edition]

William Makepeace Thackeray
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)

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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I do not say there is no character as well drawn in Shakespeare [as D'Artagnan]. I do say there is none that I love so wholly."
--Robert Louis Stevenson

"The lasting and universal popularity of The Three Musketeers shows that Dumas, by artlessly expressing his own nature in the persons of his heroes, was responding to that craving for action, strength and generosity which is a fact in all periods and all places."
--Andreé Maurois


From the Hardcover edition.

Review


"Useful notes, compact serviceable text, affordable price."--Dorice Elliot, Johns Hopkins



Product Details

  • File Size: 1071 KB
  • Print Length: 836 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0451524896
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Public Domain Books (July 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000JQUGVI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,301,515 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
168 of 171 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vanitas Vanitatum February 27, 2003
Format:Hardcover
Many consider William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863) a minor novelist who wrote in a time when George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and Anthony Trollope ruled the roost of British literature. Out of all of his works, "Vanity Fair" is the most recognizable in literary circles, although Stanley Kubrick immortalized Thackeray's "Barry Lyndon" in a film of the same name. "Vanity Fair" appeared in serial form in 1847-48, a process of publishing used to great success by Charles Dickens. The introduction to this Everyman's Library edition, written by Catherine Peters, says that the title of the book came from John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress," an immensely popular work in circulation at the time.
"Vanity Fair" centers on the exploits of two British women, Rebecca Sharp and Amelia Sedley, beginning roughly at the time of the Battle of Waterloo and ending at some time in the 1830's. The two women are polar opposites: Becky is a conniving, domineering, sometimes insensate woman who constantly attempts to secure a position in high society. Amelia is a rather plain, simple girl who trusts people too often and ends up getting her heart stomped on repeatedly. The two women are ostensibly friends, spending their youth together at a finishing school and occasionally running into each other throughout their lives. Thackeray often likes to place the two in opposition to one another: when Amelia falls into a crisis, Becky is moving in the highest circles of society. When Amelia comes into luck, Becky's fortunes plummet. This see-sawing action helps move the novel through a series of intricately detailed scenes showing off Thackeray's sense of humor, his caustic critiques of English society, and his insightful commentary into the human condition.
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87 of 88 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is not for everyone (as the next two reviews clearly demonstrate). I first read Vanity Fair in junior high, and at the time I probably would have agreed with the comments of the next two reviews: Vanity Fair seemed slow and plodding, confusing and contradictory. When I recently reread Vanity Fair, I could scarcely believe that this brilliant, ironic, hilarious, and incisive romp was the same book as the dull tome I had remembered. In retrospect I realized why my perspective had changed: in junior high I had read the book superficially and found the plot and characters lacking enough excitement to hold my interest; now I realized that the most captivating action was taking place outside the plot in the interaction between the reader and the most important person in the novel: the narrator. I, like many readers, completely missed this deeper level of meaning the first time around. Thus, to recommend this novel to the unsophiscated, inexperienced reader (such as I had been) would be futile. It takes a keen sense of irony and certain degree of insight into the workings of life and literature to recognize the narrator's vital role and to appreciate this novel in its fullest sense. This book is not an easy read: it forces the reader to confront many difficult moral questions and provides no easy answers. But for those who can handle ambiguity and can detect subtle, yet "laugh out loud" funny humor Vanity Fair is not only a necessary read, but an enjoyable one.
(Note: Buy this edition of Vanity Fair. The illustrations which Thackery drew for this novel greatly enhance the text, and the Norton edition reproduces all of them. In addition, the criticisms which are included make for a thought-provoking read and may help clarify your opinion of the novel).
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140 of 151 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars greed and more... July 22, 2004
Format:Paperback
I first read this novel twenty-five years ago, and while I found it funny and excellent entertainment at that time, I didn't realize that it is also a very great book. Now I do.

Readers who've found the novel too long are, I suspect, not regular readers of Victorian novels, which were traditionally published in newspapers, bit by bit. They're always long--that's their distinction from modern novels. More than most however, Vanity Fair opens with a bang, and from the first page on through more than 800, I found it hard to put down.

Through the cast of characters we see for ourselves the pervasive greed and hypocrisy of the 19th century British Empire. Jos Sedley, the Ex-collecter of Bogley Walla, the unfortunate Rawdon Crawley, George Osborne and the immoral, resourceful Becky Sharpe are some of the most vivid characters in English writing. The narrator's voice is perfect--though hardly appealing. It's not sentimental. The "objectivity" of a journalist's timidly expressed irony feeds into the reader's need to feel smug -- so that when shocking moments come (and they sure do) we are stunned. The narrator's voice here is much more inventive than one realizes immediately. In this and many other ways Thackeray's story-telling isn't typical of Victorian novelists--Eliot or Dickens for example. In the works of those authors we always know just what moral position the narrator has. (I should mention that I also finished re-reading Middlemarch before re-reading Vanity Fair.) Comparing the grand stateliness of George Eliot with Thackeray's voice made me see just what a tricky work of art Vanity Fair is. But Thackeray, too, makes his story come to life. The description of the Battle of Waterloo is one of the most brilliant things I've ever read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars more than fair
Am old fav revisited. It is amazing how much more my adult mind found in this book. I am surprised my junior high let us read it. Still love it!
Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice read
Had the author stayed with his main and many characters, as opposed to straying from the main theme of the tell, I would have given a higher rating.
Published 1 month ago by M H
1.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't finish!
I enjoyed a few, rare moments. Mostly I found it to be obnoxious and annoying.
Published 1 month ago by sagebrushandsneezes
4.0 out of 5 stars Great literary novel
I chose this novel because I am lacking in literary background and it was on the list of the top 100 books to read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanity Fair - A great read
I loved the humor and rich descriptions of this classic. Thackeray poking fun of the class system in England and the pomp and pretense was priceless to read.
Published 1 month ago by Sherry Marders
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic...for a reason
A well written tale of love and envy told with humour and warmth. Beautiful language, interesting characters, and lots of twists and turns.
Published 1 month ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars The older you get, the better you will understand it.....
There's a chapter in this classic 1848 English novel titled "A Cynical Chapter." I would venture to say that the whole novel could be classified with this subtitle; it's a... Read more
Published 2 months ago by gammyraye
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story Told by a Great Writer
I'm on my second run through. Thackeray is one of the finest writers of all time. Give it a try!
Published 2 months ago by Space Merchant
5.0 out of 5 stars Vanity
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray is a classic novel. Very exciting and enjoyable. Great reading for all who love reading.
Published 2 months ago by dusty
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful and modern
Being decently versed in the literature of this era with approximately 40 books from the era under my belt, I agree with most of what the previous positive reviewers have written. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Quinton Fox
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