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OK, folks, where did I leave my copy of Vanity Fair that I was reading yesterday? I have read less than a hundred pages but was really getting into it, slightly to my surprise.

One aspect that particularly struck me was Thackeray's depiction of a multiracial London, circa 1813. I can't think of any other nineteenth century novel (or earlier) which has visible non-white characters living in England, though this may just be a reflection of my ignorance. Admittedly, Thackeray's treatment of them is pretty racist; and yet Becky's schoolmate is a Caribbean heiress, and the black footman is romancing one of the (white) maids without anyone worrying unduly. So it may be a somewhat unpleasant picture, but it is at least a three-dimensional one.

I saw that one of the later chapters is set in Brussels. Hope I find the book soon, so that I can report back on that too.

Edited to add: Found it! On a shelf in the kitchen. Where I am sure I had already looked. Four or five times.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 12th, 2008 12:40 pm (UTC)
There's a fair chunk set in Brussels during the days leading up to Waterloo. Becky is, of course, present at the Duchess of Richmond's ball.
Oct. 12th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC)
I've always liked the introduction of the Strange Non-White World that's exemplified by Becky thankfully swallowing down a "chilly" to counteract the spicy Indian dish.
Oct. 12th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
The gremlins probably moved it.
Oct. 12th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
In 1978, having just finished my primary degree (Geology) and wondering where my life was going, I read Vanity Fair to improve my vocabulary. I found it a wonderful book and recommend it whole heartedly. (BTW I also tried to learn Russian from books that summer. That wasn't as successful as my reading Vanity Fair, but at least now I can tell people, "I do not speak Russian," in Russian.)

I hope you enjoy the book.
Oct. 12th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
My God, I just realised that makes it 30 years since I read Vanity Fair. Ouch!
Oct. 12th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
Found it! On a shelf in the kitchen. Where I am sure I had already looked. Four or five times.

What you need is this. (Warning: NSFW language)
Oct. 13th, 2008 06:20 pm (UTC)
I have on more than one occasion searched extensively for a book which turned out to have been safely stashed under my oxter all along.
Oct. 13th, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that's particularly embarrassing!

(..wonders how many people will read this and wonder what an oxter is...)
Oct. 14th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
I actually thought about changing it, but I decided most of the people around here probably like to find out about dialect words new to them.

In my teenage years we'd have two or three Sunday papers in the house, for four adults and three teenagers. If you put down your section of the paper you might not get it back for hours, but there would be domestic tasks to be done arising out of Sunday dinner. So I developed the habit of hanging on to the paper indefinitely while I did whatever, and ended up doing the same with books.
Oct. 18th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
*puts hand up*

*goes to wikipedia*
Oct. 18th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
...that was not what I was expecting.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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