Comments for Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair: 04/24/14
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray calls itself a "novel without a hero." In the post-movie-tie-in book cover and blurb, one would be expected to believe that it's a book with a heroine, namely, Becky Sharp. But, I argue, that's a present day contrivance, much in the same way that the film industry has convinced a generation of readers that Pride and Prejudice is a romance in the modern sense of the word.
Certainly the book starts off on the promise of a book about a plucky young woman out to conquer the world now that she has finished school. That conceit though, is tossed out at the end of the first chapter, along with Becky Sharp's dictionary.
With Becky blending into the ensemble cast of characters, I started to rethink the idea of a hero-less novel. If I turn to the entertainment industry again, this time television, Vanity Fair is most like Seinfeld if it had aired after the attack on the World Trade Center.
Essentially Vanity Fair is a seres of comic sketches that look at British culture before, during and after the Battle of Waterloo.