Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

3.4 32
by William Makepeace Thackeray
     
 

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BEFORE THE CURTAIN

As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards
and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over
him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of
eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the
contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and

Overview

BEFORE THE CURTAIN

As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards
and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over
him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of
eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the
contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are
bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets,
policemen on the look-out, quacks (OTHER quacks, plague take them!)
bawling in front of their booths, and yokels looking up at the
tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the
light-fingered folk are operating upon their pockets behind. Yes, this
is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though
very noisy. Look at the faces of the actors and buffoons when they
come off from their business; and Tom Fool washing the paint off his
cheeks before he sits down to dinner with his wife and the little Jack
Puddings behind the canvas. The curtain will be up presently, and he
will be turning over head and heels, and crying, "How are you?"

A man with a reflective turn of mind, walking through an exhibition of
this sort, will not be oppressed, I take it, by his own or other
people's hilarity. An episode of humour or kindness touches and
amuses him here and there--a pretty child looking at a gingerbread
stall; a pretty girl blushing whilst her lover talks to her and chooses
her fairing; poor Tom Fool, yonder behind the waggon, mumbling his bone
with the honest family which lives by his tumbling; but the general
impression is one more melancholy than mirthful. When you come home
you sit down in a sober, contemplative, not uncharitable frame of mind,
and apply yourself to your books or your business.

I have no other moral than this to tag to the present story of "Vanity
Fair." Some people consider Fairs immoral altogether, and eschew such,
with their servants and families: very likely they are right. But
persons who think otherwise, and are of a lazy, or a benevolent, or a
sarcastic mood, may perhaps like to step in for half an hour, and look
at the performances. There are scenes of all sorts; some dreadful
combats, some grand and lofty horse-riding, some scenes of high life,
and some of very middling indeed; some love-making for the sentimental,
and some light comic business; the whole accompanied by appropriate
scenery and brilliantly illuminated with the Author's own candles.

What more has the Manager of the Performance to say?--To acknowledge
the kindness with which it has been received in all the principal towns
of England through which the Show has passed, and where it has been
most favourably noticed by the respected conductors of the public
Press, and by the Nobility and Gentry. He is proud to think that his
Puppets have given satisfaction to the very best company in this
empire. The famous little Becky Puppet has been pronounced to be
uncommonly flexible in the joints, and lively on the wire; the Amelia
Doll, though it has had a smaller circle of admirers, has yet been
carved and dressed with the greatest care by the artist; the Dobbin
Figure, though apparently clumsy, yet dances in a very amusing and
natural manner; the Little Boys' Dance has been liked by some; and
please to remark the richly dressed figure of the Wicked Nobleman, on
which no expense has been spared, and which Old Nick will fetch away at
the end of this singular performance.

And with this, and a profound bow to his patrons, the Manager retires,
and the curtain rises.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012366603
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
03/22/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
807 KB

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Vanity Fair 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bring back the classics. We need them. Vanity Fair is one of Thackeray's most brilliant works that can compete with the best writings today. It deals principally with the lives of two young women, Miss Sedley and Miss Sharp and what they did after leaving school. It is about their loves, their ambitions, their terribly endearing families and most importantly, their dreams. The book openly and almost brutally describes the selfishness of human nature and the thousand little subtilities of everyday life during that time. Attitude towards women, status in society, the power of money and marriage are recurring themes in this delightful novel. Extremely unique characters like Miss. Crawley, Mr.Osbourne and Captain Dobbin give the book a splendid Dickensian touch. To me, it is an excellent read because like terrorism, it really makes you stop and take a step back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Table of contents should be hyperlinked and under "content" tab so it is actually functional. Titles are off and words somtimes mispelled. Book itself is good.
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This book is very long, and the electronic editions, at least the free ones, tend not to include the entire book, so you will likely have to download a couple of editions to get the whole book. The descriptions of the e-books tend not to describe how much or what part of the book is included, so you will have to do some trial and error.
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