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I read the novel Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray in high school. I thought that I remembered nothing except that it was a large and impressive book.
Recently, I watched the mini-series produced by ITV and Amazon Studios. It aired last fall in Britain and is available for streaming with Amazon Prime.It turns out that I remembered much more than I thought. The character and place names, especially, were familiar.
Watching this mini-series solved a long-running mystery of my mind.
I started reading historical novels set during the Regency period probably a decade after high school ended. I always wondered why the Battle of Waterloo and the parties that preceded it in Brussels were so familiar to me. Now, I know — I read about them in Vanity Fair in very memorable scenes.
I don’t remember enough to say whether the mini-series is faithful to the book. Critics mostly say that it did pretty well.
Becky Sharp is a wonderfully complicated character. She is selfish, often, but occasionally manages a moment of selflessness. She’s not admirable on all fronts, but she displays a confidence and ambition that modern women still struggle to balance with other aspects of humanity. For myself, I want that confidence, but hope to display it with more compassion than Miss Sharp usually manages.
Have you read or seen Vanity Fair? What did you think?