I’ve been cruising through Thackeray’s long novel, ‘Vanity Fair,’ a chapter or two at a time. It’s not a book one needs to read straight through but can be approached much like episodes of a television series. I suppose it could almost be seen as a soap opera of sorts.
If so, it is an extraordinarily good one. As I approach the last few chapters, I’m inclined to say that this is THE novel — forget its rough contemporaries such as ‘Moby Dick’ or ‘War and Peace.’
Okay, that’s facetious. None the less, I do prefer it. I think, despite its wittiness and satire, it is a truer study of humanity than either of the others. It also seems, after a hiatus in its popularity, to be in tune with Modern (or Post-Modern or Whatever) sensibilities. VF did go out of fashion for a while, when critics, and those who thought themselves such, demanded more ‘realism’ in their reading.
Would that I had read this novel thirty or forty years ago! Or would I have not appreciated it then? At this point, I can only say that it is now one of my Very Favorite Books.