Annotations for Vanity Fair : A Novel Without a Hero


Blackwell North Amer
In Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Edgar F. Harden presents the first substantial critical study devoted to Thackeray's masterpiece. Designed to orient the reader to the multiplicities of Thackeray's perspective on human experience, the study commences with a broad contextual overview of the historical, literary, and critical environment shaping Thackeray's life and times. Subsequent chapters deliver a close reading of the novel, paying particular attention to issues of substance and style, the complex role of the narrator, and the elaborate characterizations of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley; detailed coverage is also given to the significance of the serialized form in which the novel was first published. Maintaining that Vanity Fair "calls into fundamental question the value of worldly pursuits," Harden expertly leads readers to a solid understanding of the "Thackerayan perspective" and to a true appreciation for why George Eliot, in 1857, proclaimed Thackeray "the most powerful of living novelists."

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Book News
Harden (English, Simon Fraser U.) orients readers to Thackeray's perspective on human experience in this study of the classic novel of 19th century English manners. He offers an overview of the historical, literary, and critical environment shaping his life, and a reading of the novel emphasizing the issues of substance and style, its elaborate characterizations, and the complex role of the narrator. Paper edition (unseen), $12.95. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

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