Vanity Fair

Publication history

Thackeray may have begun working out some of the details of Vanity Fair as early as 1841 but probably began writing it in late 1844.[42] Like many novels of the time, Vanity Fair was published as a serial before being sold in book form. It was printed in 20 monthly parts between January 1847 and July 1848 for Punch by Bradbury & Evans in London. The first three had already been completed before publication, while the others were written after it had begun to sell.[43] As was standard practice, the last part was a "double number" containing parts 19 and 20. Surviving texts, his notes, and letters show that adjustments were made – e.g., the Battle of Waterloo was delayed twice – but that the broad outline of the story and its principal themes were well established from the beginning of publication.[44]

No. 1 (January 1847) Ch. 1–4
No. 2 (February 1847) Ch. 5–7
No. 3 (March 1847) Ch. 8–11
No. 4 (April 1847) Ch. 12–14
No. 5 (May 1847) Ch. 15–18
No. 6 (June 1847) Ch. 19–22
No. 7 (July 1847) Ch. 23–25
No. 8 (August 1847) Ch. 26–29
No. 9 (September 1847) Ch. 30–32
No. 10 (October 1847) Ch. 33–35
No. 11 (November 1847) Ch. 36–38
No. 12 (December 1847) Ch. 39–42
No. 13 (January 1848) Ch. 43–46
No. 14 (February 1848) Ch. 47–50
No. 15 (March 1848) Ch. 51–53
No. 16 (April 1848) Ch. 54–56
No. 17 (May 1848) Ch. 57–60
No. 18 (June 1848) Ch. 61–63
No. 19/20 (July 1848) Ch. 64–67

The parts resembled pamphlets and contained the text of several chapters between outer pages of steel-plate engravings and advertising. Woodcut engravings, which could be set along with normal moveable type, appeared within the text. The same engraved illustration appeared on the canary-yellow cover of each monthly part; this colour became Thackeray's signature, as a light blue-green was Dickens's, allowing passers-by to notice a new Thackeray number in a bookstall from a distance. Vanity Fair was the first work that Thackeray published under his own name and was extremely well received at the time. After the conclusion of its serial publication, it was printed as a bound volume by Bradbury & Evans in 1848 and was quickly picked up by other London printers as well. As a collected work, the novels bore the subtitle A Novel without a Hero.[d] By the end of 1859, royalties on Vanity Fair had only given Thackeray about £2000, a third of his take from The Virginians, but was responsible for his still more lucrative lecture tours in Britain and the United States.[46][e]

From his first draft and following publication, Thackeray occasionally revised his allusions to make them more accessible for his readers. In Chapter 5, an original "Prince Whadyecallem"[47] became "Prince Ahmed" by the 1853 edition.[48] In Chapter 13, a passage about the filicidal Biblical figure Jephthah was removed, although references to Iphigenia remained important.[48] In Chapter 56, Thackeray originally confused Samuel – the boy whose mother Hannah had given him up when called to by God – with Eli,[49] the old priest to whose care he was entrusted; this mistake was not corrected until the 1889 edition,[50] after Thackeray's death.

The serials had been subtitled Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society and both they and the early bound versions featured Thackeray's own illustrations. These sometimes provided symbolically-freighted images, such as one of the female characters being portrayed as a man-eating mermaid. In at least one case, a major plot point is provided through an image and its caption. Although the text makes it clear that other characters suspect Becky Sharp to have murdered her second husband, there is nothing definitive in the text itself. However, an image reveals her overhearing Jos pleading with Dobbin while clutching a small white object in her hand. The caption that this is Becky's second appearance in the character of Clytemnestra clarifies that she did indeed murder him for the insurance money,[18] likely through laudanum or another poison.[51][39] "The final three illustrations of Vanity Fair are tableaux that insinuate visually what the narrator is unwilling to articulate: that Becky... has actually been substantially rewarded – by society – for her crimes."[52] One of the Thackeray's plates for the 11th issue of Vanity Fair was suppressed from publication by threat of prosecution for libel, so great was the resemblance of its depiction of Lord Steyne to Marquis of Hertford.[53] Despite their relevance, most modern editions either do not reproduce all the illustrations or do so with poor detail.

  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, London: Bradbury & Evans, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em} [ Wikisource ] [ ].
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Vols. I, II, & III, Leipzig: Tauchnitz, 1848, reprinted 1925.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, London: Bradbury & Evans, 1853, without illustration.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Vols. I, II, & III, New York: Harper & Bros., 1865.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, New York: Harper & Bros., 1869, reprinted 1898.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1883, reprinted 1886.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Walter Scott, 1890.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, George Routledge & Sons, 1891.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Vols. I & II, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1893, in four editions.
  • Ritchie, Anne Isabella Thackeray, ed. (1898), The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray, Vol. I: Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, London: Smith, Elder, & Co.
  • Gwynn, Stephen, ed. (1899), Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Vols. I, II, & III, Methuen.
  • Doyle, Richard, ed. (1902), Vanity Fair, Vols. I & II, New York: P.F. Collier & Son.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1906.
  • Neilson, William Allan, ed. (1909), Vanity Fair, Vols. I & II, New York: P.F. Collier & Son, republished 1917.
  • Tillotson, Geoffrey; et al., eds. (1963), Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Boston: Riverside.
  • Page, Josephine, ed. (1964), Vanity Fair, Tales Retold for Easy Reading, Oxford: Oxford University Press, reprinted 1967, 1975, & 1976.
  • Sutherland, John, ed. (1983), Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Zhang, Xinci, ed. (1992), 浮華世界 [Fuhua Shijie, Vanity Fair], Tainan: Daxia Chubanshe, reprinted 1995. (in Chinese)
  • Shillingsburg, Peter, ed. (1994), Vanity Fair, New York: W.W. Norton & Co..
  • Francis, Pauline, ed. (2000), Vanity Fair, Harlow: Pearson Education, reprinted 2008.
  • Carey, John, ed. (2001), Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, London: Penguin.
  • Mowat, Diane, ed. (2002), Vanity Fair, Oxford: Oxford University Press, reprinted 2003, 2004, & 2008.
  • Butler, James; et al., eds. (2004), Vanity Fair, Genoa: Black Cat.
  • Walker, Elizabeth, ed. (2007), Vanity Fair, Oxford: Macmillan.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  • Hui, Tang, ed. (2014), 名利场 [Mingli Chang, Vanity Fair], Beijing: Waiyu Jiaoxue yu Yanjiu Chubanshe. (in Chinese) &

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