The Vanity Fair Read-along hosted by Trish and Melissa is officially underway. I started early and listened to the first couple of chapters yesterday morning.
Vanity Fair, subtitled A Novel without a Hero, by William Makepeace Thackeray was first published in 1847–48 and satirized society in early 19th-century Britain. The title comes from John Bunyan's allegorical story The Pilgrim's Progress (1678) which was still widely read at that time. "Vanity Fair" refers to a stop along the pilgrim's progress: a never-ending fair in a town called Vanity, meant to represent man's sinful attachment to worldly things.
Book description (from amazon):
No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles—military and domestic—are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.
Plan of attack:
Total immersion is my favorite approach to long classics these days, and involves a combination of reading and listening. I listen on my iPhone - in the car, on the treadmill, walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc. - and read at home in the evening.
This time I have chosen Tantor Audio's 2008 production narrated by Wanda McCaddon (28 hours and 45minutes)
and my old Penguin Classic paperback edition, 809 pages plus notes.
After just two chapters, I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy this novel. The characters of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley have been introduced and present quite a contrast.
This quote from chapter two makes me think Thackery has a few lessons to teach:
The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.Follow the conversation on twitter: #YoureSoVain
Next post: Midpoint check-in around March 1
It's not too late... why not join us?