Thackery's Vanity Fair

Ref: C3128927

What can you do if you’re a poor girl with big ambitions? Vanity, love, marriage, revenge and ambition are examined as we follow the fortunes of the remarkable Becky Sharpe. In addition to thinking about the literary themes and characterisations, we'll also be looking for parallels with the twenty-first century. Is this novel still relevant? How have things changed, since this novel was published in 1848? Can we still call it a comic masterpiece? We'll be discussing this in six sections, but it was first published in serial form, from January 1847 to July 1848, are there advantages to delivering stories in this way? The tutor will provide a discussion schedule, on Canvas, so we will be considering the novel in six sections that correspond to some of the serialisation sections. Please read to the end of chapter 14 for discussion at the first session.

Course aim

To discuss our reactions to this novel, and think about the design of the plot while considering the period and place in which it was written.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • Please read to the end of chapter 14 for discussion at the first session.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Share my thoughts about this reading experience.
  • Assess the historical context of the novel.
  • Identify some of the literary techniques Thackeray employs.
  • Discuss my responses to Becky Sharp, and consider the ways the narrator directs our reactions to other characters.
  • Identify common and contrasting themes, and consider their relevance to us, reading the novel today, as well as thinking about the impact on the reader of the 1840s.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

You will need an un-abridged copy of Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, by William Makepeace Thackeray. Please read to the end of chaper 14, for discussion at he first session.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Thackery's Vanity Fair

Enrolment Conditions

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