Vanity Fair (Collins Classics)

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HarperCollins UK, May 31, 2012 - Fiction - 960 pages
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‘Oh, those women! They nurse and cuddle their presentiments, and make darlings of their ugliest thoughts...’

Self-serving social climber and anti-heroine Becky Sharp will do anything to raise her status and attain wealth and standing with smart Society. Clever, lively and resourceful, orphan Becky is the the total opposite of her naive and sentimental schoolmate Amelia Sedley, a pampered, yet good-natured girl from a wealthy family. As both women build lives for themselves in London, Thackeray decadently satirises the corruption and flaws of 19th-Century English Society.


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CHAPTER 39A cynical chapter
CHAPTER 40In which Becky is recognised by the family
CHAPTER 41In which Becky revisits the halls of her ancestors
CHAPTER 42Which treats of the Osborne Family
CHAPTER 43In which the reader has to double the Cape
CHAPTER 44A roundabout chapter between London and Hampshire
CHAPTER 45Between Hampshire and London
CHAPTER 46Struggles and Trials

CHAPTER 9Family Portraits
CHAPTER 10Miss Sharp begins to make friends
CHAPTER 11Arcadian simplicity
CHAPTER 12Quite a sentimental chapter
CHAPTER 13Sentimental and Otherwise
CHAPTER 14Miss Crawley at home
CHAPTER 15In which Rebeccas husband appears for a short time
CHAPTER 16The letter on the pincushion
CHAPTER 17How Captain Dobbin bought a Piano
CHAPTER 18Who played on the piano Captain Dobbin bought
CHAPTER 19Miss Crawley at Nurse
CHAPTER 20In which Captain Dobbin acts as the Messenger of Hymen
CHAPTER 21A quarrel about an heiress
CHAPTER 22A marriage and part of a honeymoon
CHAPTER 23Captain Dobbin proceeds on his canvass
CHAPTER 24In which Mr Osborne takes down the Family Bible
CHAPTER 25In which all the principal personages think fit to leave Brighton
CHAPTER 26Between London and Chatham
CHAPTER 27In which Amelia joins her regiment
CHAPTER 28In which Amelia invades the Low Countries
CHAPTER 29Brussels
CHAPTER 30The Girl I Left Behind Me
CHAPTER 31In which Jos Sedley takes care of his sister
CHAPTER 32In which Jos takes flight and the War is brought to a close
CHAPTER 33In which Miss Crawleys relations are very anxious about her
CHAPTER 34James Crawleys pipe is put out
CHAPTER 35Widow and Mother
CHAPTER 36How to live well on nothing a year
CHAPTER 37The subject continued
CHAPTER 38A family in a very small way
CHAPTER 47Gaunt House
CHAPTER 48In which the reader is introduced to the very best of company
CHAPTER 49In which we enjoy three courses and a dessert
CHAPTER 50Contains a vulgar incident
CHAPTER 51In which a charade is acted which may or may not puzzle the reader
CHAPTER 52In which Lord Steyne shows himself in a most amiable light
CHAPTER 53A rescue and a catastrophe
CHAPTER 54Sunday after the battle
CHAPTER 55In which the same subject is pursued
CHAPTER 56Georgy is made a gentleman
CHAPTER 57Eothen
CHAPTER 58Our friend the Major
CHAPTER 59The old piano
CHAPTER 60Returns to the genteel world
CHAPTER 61In which two lights are put out
CHAPTER 62Am Rhein
CHAPTER 63In which we meet an old acquaintance
CHAPTER 64A vagabond chapter
CHAPTER 65Full of business and pleasure
CHAPTER 66Amantium Iroe
CHAPTER 67Which contains births marriages and deaths
WORDS AND PHRASESadapted from theCollins English Dictionary
The Satirical Genre

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About the author (2012)

William Makepeace Thackeray was born in Calcutta, India, where his father was in service to the East India Company. After the death of his father in 1816, he was sent to England to attend school. Upon reaching college age, Thackeray attended Trinity College, Cambridge, but he left before completing his degree. Instead, he devoted his time to traveling and journalism. Generally considered the most effective satirist and humorist of the mid-nineteenth century, Thackeray moved from humorous journalism to successful fiction with a facility that was partially the result of a genial fictional persona and a graceful, relaxed style. At his best, he held up a mirror to Victorian manners and morals, gently satirizing, with a tone of sophisticated acceptance, the inevitable failure of the individual and of society. He took up the popular fictional situation of the young person of talent who must make his way in the world and dramatized it with satiric directness in The Luck of Barry Lyndon (1844), with the highest fictional skill and appreciation of complexities inherent within the satiric vision in his masterpiece, Vanity Fair (1847), and with a great subtlety of point of view and background in his one historical novel, Henry Esmond (1852). Vanity Fair, a complex interweaving in a vast historical panorama of a large number of characters, derives its title from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and attempts to invert for satirical purposes, the traditional Christian image of the City of God. Vanity Fair, the corrupt City of Man, remains Thackeray's most appreciated and widely read novel. It contrasts the lives of two boarding-school friends, Becky Sharp and Amelia Smedley. Constantly attuned to the demands of incidental journalism and his sense of professionalism in his relationship with his public, Thackeray wrote entertaining sketches and children's stories and published his humorous lectures on eighteenth-century life and literature. His own fiction shows the influence of his dedication to such eighteenth-century models as Henry Fielding, particularly in his satire, which accepts human nature rather than condemns it and takes quite seriously the applicability of the true English gentleman as a model for moral behavior. Thackeray requested that no authorized biography of him should ever be written, but members of his family did write about him, and these accounts were subsequently published.

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