Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

First published in 1847–48, Vanity Fair  satirizes society in early 19th-century Britain and in particular the attachment to material things.

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 comical epic of love and social adventure.

A whopper at 720 pages in the Wordsworth paperback edition. In order to assess whether you’re willing to invest the time entering this Regency world, film adaptations are available such as the 2004 version with Reese Witherspoon as Becky. (

William Makepeace Thackeray

ISBN 978-1853260193

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