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Vanity Fair (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – November 1, 2003
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“Vanity Fair was Thackeray’s masterpiece. Subversive, funny, complex and serious, it is the work of an intellectual athlete at the height of his powers.”
—from the Introduction by Catherine Peters --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
After first appearing as a serial in brilliant yellow covers, Vanity Fair, 'a novel without a hero', was published in full in 1848. A panoramic and biting satire, it was the first of William Makepeace Thackeray's works to bear his own name. This edition includes his original illustrations and preface. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This e-edition is clear and readable, and I spotted few if any typos. My one regret is that it does not also include Thackeray's own illustrations.
It would be hard to recommend this book to those who have more of a comic book appreciation for literature...who would be frustrated and be continually wondering what the heck concerning references to things and events no longer appreciated in our vapid times.
BUT I would recommend this book to those who have the patience and desire to penetrate another time and place and enjoy the puppet show.
This is a long, long book. When I started reading it I was living in Arizona with no plans to move. By the time I finished the book this week, I had been a resident of Minnesota for almost three months. And I'm not a slow reader. It isn't the most sprawling Victorian novel I've read (The Way of All Flesh felt a lot longer and involved many more generations and Wives and Daughters: An Everyday Story, another great serial novel, was also pretty meandering), but it is certainly in the category.
If you have a willingness to immerse yourself in an author's world for an extended period of time, you will probably enjoy this novel. It helps, however, to also have an appetite for harsh social commentary. It doesn't seem as if the author likes anybody very much. Even the characters who are initially appealing turn out to have serious character flaws. Readers who want to "like" characters should probably keep looking.
On the whole, I thought this novel was an excellent read. The author's wit, while not as sharp as Dickens at his best, is enjoyable. The frequent authorial injections, while an old-fashioned technique, were delivered with a sensibility that was quite modern. The story didn't turn out at all as I expected it would.
If you have an appetite for a long novel with realistic characters, I highly recommend this book. I liked it enough to want to check out more of the author's work. Comparing him to authors like Austen isn't really fair. He was really working in a completely different way, with the same elements of social satire, but on a much longer scale and in a much darker vein.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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