Vanity Fair

by William Makepeace Thackeray

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair is a 19th century social satire by William Makepeace Thackeray. The novel follows the adventures and dealings of Becky Sharp and Amelia Sedley.

Source: Thackeray, W. M. (1917). Vanity Fair. New York. NY: P.F. Collier and Son.

Before the Curtain
A brief introduction to the text.
Chapter 1: Chiswick Mall
Amelia Sedley and Rebecca Sharp depart from Miss Pinkerton's finishing school.
Chapter 2: In Which Miss Sharp and Miss Sedley Prepare to Open the Campaign
Amelia gives Becky a tour of her house. Becky is curious about Joseph Sedley.
Chapter 3: Rebecca is in Presence of the Enemy
Becky Sharp is introduced to Joseph Sedley.
Chapter 4: The Green Silk Purse
Becky gets acquainted with the Sedley household.
Chapter 5: Dobbin of Ours
Some history of William Dobbin and George Sedley Osbourne's friendship is presented to the reader.
Chapter 6: Vauxhall
A description of the evening at Vauxhall.
Chapter 7: Crawley of Queen’s Crawley
Becky wears out her welcome at the Sedley house. The Crawley house is not as hospitable as the Sedley house.
Chapter 8: Private and Confidential
Rebecca describes the Crawley family to Amelia. Rebecca meets her charges.
Chapter 9: Family Portraits
The Crawley finances are in a state of disarray, however Sir Pitt's frivolous behavior continues.
Chapter 10: Miss Sharp Begins to Make Friends
Rebecca earns the trust of Sir Pitt.
Chapter 11: Arcadian Simplicity
The reader is introduced to Reverend Bute. The subject of death is taken lightly.
Chapter 12: Quite a Sentimental Chapter
George's behavior bothers Dobbin.
Chapter 13: Sentimental and Otherwise
Amelia visits the Osbourne home. Old Osbourne makes an offer George can't refuse.
Chapter 14: Miss Crawley at Home
Miss Matilda visits Amelia. Sir Pitt presents Becky with a proposition.
Chapter 15: In Which Rebecca’s Husband Appears for a Short Time
Becky's refusal is explained. Sir Pitt's discovery sends him into a rage.
Chapter 16: The Letter on the Pincushion
The Sedley state is auctioned off.
Chapter 17: How Captain Dobbin Bought a Piano
Dobbin makes a purchase for Amelia.
Chapter 18: Who Played on the Piano Captain Dobbin Bought
Napoleon is blamed for a number of problems.
Chapter 19: Miss Crawley at Nurse
Mrs. Bute Crawley attempts to protect Miss Crawley.
Chapter 20: In Which Captain Dobbin Acts as the Messenger of Hymen
Dobbin assists Amelia and George.
Chapter 21: A Quarrel About an Heiress
Old Osborne has his own plan for George. George defies his father wishes.
Chapter 22: A Marriage and Part of a Honeymoon
Joseph, Rawdon and George receive orders.
Chapter 23: Captain Dobbin Proceeds on His Canvass
Dobbin's and George's friendship is further explained.
Chapter 24: In Which Mr. Osborne Takes Down the Family Bible
Dobbin delivers a letter to George.
Chapter 25: In Which All the Principal Personages Think Fit to Leave Brighton
Amelia fools everyone but Dobbin. Rawdon's disappointment amuses Becky.
Chapter 26: Between London and Chatham
A description of George and Amelia's life.
Chapter 27: In Which Amelia Joins Her Regiment
Amelia's appearance affects George's regiment. Mrs. O'Dowd has plans for Glorvina and Jos.
Chapter 28: In Which Amelia Invades the Low Countries
Amelia's heart is troubled as the continues to follow the regiment.
Chapter 29: Brussels
George rethinks his choices, turning to Amelia once more.
Chapter 30: “The Girl I Left Behind Me”
The men of Vanity Fair say their farewells as the depart for battle.
Chapter 31: In Which Jos Sedley Takes Care of His Sister
As requested, Joseph stays behind to take care of the women. Isidor and Rebecca each have plans of their own.
Chapter 32: In Which Jos Takes Flight, and the War Is Brought to a Close
Joseph flees as rumors of defeat spread. Peggy and Amelia care for the wounded. George's time at war ends.
Chapter 33: In Which Miss Crawley’s Relations Are Very Anxious About Her
Miss Crawley receives various tokens of appreciation. Lady Jane makes a positive impression.
Chapter 34: James Crawley’s Pipe Is Put Out
James falls out of favor with Miss Crawley. Angered by correspondence from Rebecca, Miss Crawley makes a declaration to Pitt.
Chapter 35: Widow and Mother
News of George's fate reaches the elder Osbourne. George's final wishes are not honored. Amelia, accompanied by Dobbin, returns home.
Chapter 36: How to Live Well on Nothing a Year
A brief essay by the author is presented to the reader. Rawdon and Rebecca continue to live on chance. An earlier incident involving Rawdon is revisited.
Chapter 37: The Subject Continued
Rebecca makes a deal before returning to London. Rebecca and Rawdon make arrangements with Mr. Raggles. Rebecca receives word of Miss Crawley's death and inheritence.
Chapter 38: A Family in a Very Small Way
Rebecca behaves as expected. Little Rawdon makes a new friend. Amelia devotes her time to little George. Amelia is affected by news from Dobbin's Sister.
Chapter 39: A Cynical Chapter
Bute mourns his loss. Mrs. Bute catches Miss Horrocks in the act. Sir Pitt's health takes a downturn forcing young Pitt to make a decision.
Chapter 40: In Which Becky Is Recognized by the Family
Pitt sends an invitation to family. Rebecca continues to make grand plans.
Chapter 41: In Which Becky Revisits the Halls of Her Ancestors
Becky attempts to make a good impression, hoping to benefit from the visit.
Chapter 42: Which Treats of the Osborne Family
Mr. Osborne makes a deal with the Bullocks. Word of little George reaches the elder Osbourne.
Chapter 43: In Which the Reader Has to Double the Cape
The reader is taken to the Indian Empire with the Madras division. Mrs. O'Dowd makes a decision regarding Dobbin and Glorvina. Dobbin makes a request on account of Amelia.
Chapter 44: A Round-About Chapter Between London and Hampshire
Becky continues to work her way into Vanity Fair. The Rawdon Crawleys spend the holidays at Queen's Crawley. Lady Jane is not impressed by Becky's behavior.
Chapter 45: Between Hampshire and London
Sir Pitt and Lady Jane visit the Rawdon Crawleys in London. Rebecca's attention to Sir Pitt does not sit well with Lady Jane.
Chapter 46: Struggles and Trials
The Dobbin sisters attempt a reconciliation. The elder Osborne makes Amelia an offer.
Chapter 47: Gaunt House
Tom Eaves gives his opinion. Lord Steyne is troubled by his son's situation, but continues to distract himself with lavish parties.
Chapter 48: In Which the Reader Is Introduced to the Very Best of Company
Becky's ambition is finally realized. Becky receives assistance from Lord Steyne.
Chapter 49: In Which We Enjoy Three Courses and a Dessert
Lord Steyne makes a strong suggestion to Lady Blanche. Becky meets a sympathetic party and continues to make a positive impression.
Chapter 50: Contains a Vulgar Incident
The Sedleys continue to suffer hardships. Old Osborne wins his war of attrition with Amelia. Amelia is impressed by her son's kindness to others as she keeps an eye on him from a distance.
Chapter 51: In Which a Charade Is Acted Which May or May Not Puzzle the Reader
Becky continues to the people of Vanity Fair with her charm, but many question the source of her wealth. Rawdon's debts catch up with him.
Chapter 52: In Which Lord Steyne Shows Himself in a Most Amiable Light
Rawdon is saddened by his son's departure, Becky however is unaffected. Lord Steyne's suspicions lead him to question Briggs.
Chapter 53: A Rescue and a Catastrophe
Rawdon becomes suspicious of Becky, and requests assistance from Sir Pitt. Rawdon makes a discovery upon returning home.
Chapter 54: Sunday After the Battle
Rawdon has a request for Pitt. Macmurdo attempts to calm Rawdon.
Chapter 55: In Which the Same Subject is Pursued
Becky awakes to find that her situation has changed. Lady Jane gives Sir Pitt a choice. Rawdon receives some favorable news.
Chapter 56: Georgy is Made a Gentleman
Old Osborne has plans for little George, attempting to make amends for his previous actions. Amelia makes a friend in order to see George. Dobbin inquires about Amelia.
Chapter 57: Eothen
Amelia continues to feel a sense of obligation and duty, devoting her life to her father. Major Dobbin heads home and runs into an old friend on the way. Upon the receipt of good news, Dobbin's spirit is lifted.
Chapter 58: Our Friend the Major
Jos and Dobbin get a good nights sleep. Dobbin prepares for a reunion of sorts.
Chapter 59: The Old Piano
Mr. Sedley gets his house in order. Jos makes a promise to his father and Amelia. Dobbin makes a declaration to Amelia, but is disappointed with her reaction.
Chapter 60: Returns to the Genteel World
Little George returns, as does good fortune, to the Sedley house.
Chapter 61: In Which Two Lights are Put Out
Two family patriarchs pass away without full reconciliation. Amelia's newfound wealth brings a new set of "friends".
Chapter 62: Am Rhein
Joseph, Amelia, Georgy, and Dobbin depart for the continent. Amelia starts to appreciate Dobbin's presence.
Chapter 63: In Which We Meet an Old Acquaintance
Joseph decides to stay. Amelia continues to enjoy herself. An old acquaintance makes an unexpected appearance.
Chapter 64: A Vagabond Chapter
Becky's life after Rawdon is told to the reader.
Chapter 65: Full of Business Pleasure
Joseph pays a visit to Becky. Dobbin departs after a heated discussion.
Chapter 66: Amantium Irae
Becky is ambitious once again. Amelia sends correspondence to Dobbin. Becky reveals a note to Amelia before Dobbin's arrival.
Chapter 67: Which Contains Births, Marriages, and Deaths
Willam Dobbin and Amelia reconcile with each other. Becky visits Joseph with less than honorable intentions. Rebecca's ambition pays off financially, but leaves her friendless.
  • Year Published: 1917
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: England
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 10.0
  • Word Count: 322,210
  • Genre: Satire
  • Keywords: 19th century literature, british literature, satire, vanity fair
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