William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

Lindsay Sullivan (Cardiff University)
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Thackeray began work on

Vanity Fair

in 1845, and Bradbury and Evans made an offer for it in 1846. The novel eventually began serialisation in


in January 1847, running until July 1848. A one-volume edition was published in 1848 and a revised edition appeared in 1853. The present title of the novel alludes both to John Bunyan (1628-88)’s

The Pilgrim’s Progress

(1678) and to the book of Ecclesiastes (see 1v2, 1v14, and 12v8).

The Pilgrim’s Progress

describes Vanity Fair: “Therefore at this Fair are all such merchandise sold, as houses, lands, trades, places, honours, preferments, titles, countries, kingdoms, lusts, pleasures, and delights of all sorts, as whores, bawds, wives, husbands, children, masters, servants, lives, blood, bodies, souls, silver, gold, pearls, precious…

2582 words

Citation: Sullivan, Lindsay. "Vanity Fair". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 July 2004 [https://www.literaryencyclopedia.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=8590, accessed 23 July 2024.]

8590 Vanity Fair 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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