Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Washerwoman of Finchley Common:

"There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing, and fiddling: there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women...yokels looking up at the tinselled dancers and poor old rouged tumblers, while the light-fingered folk are operating upon their pockets behind. Yes, this is VANITY FAIR; not a moral place certainly; nor a merry one, though very noisy..."
(Thackeray 1994:ix)
(Image from Amazon UK)
It may not be moral nor merry, but it is a highly entertaining place to while away an afternoon or three and it's infinitely more reader friendly (way less pages!) than that other classic Napoleonic novel - War and Peace. Although our protagonists do feature in the Battle of Waterloo the main focus is on the social trials and tribulations involved in attempting to make it in suitable society.
For me, the scheming and manipulative Becky Sharp is a more interesting and memorable character than the insipid and dull Amelia Sedley...but I'm often drawn to dark characters! Who do you prefer and why?
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  • At 10:00 pm, Blogger utenzi said…

    Hmmm. I've never read either of those two classics, VK. I usually don't prefer dark characters in books but often do in movies. The books seem more real somehow, and the darkness is more objectionable there.

    Michele sent me way overseas to see you, VK.

  • At 10:15 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Utenzi: Good point about books Vs. movies...though I do like dark characters in both media!

  • At 11:26 pm, Anonymous Deana said…

    Visiting first time via Michele's and I love your place! Seems perfect for me! I plan to come back.

    Happy New Year!

  • At 2:09 am, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    It's interesting, i like dark characters sometimes, too. i liked anna karenina better than war & peace. for some reason i didn't like vanity fair that much, though i like your excerpt :) did you see the movie?

  • At 3:42 pm, Blogger nutmeg said…

    I read this a little while ago but the character of Becky Sharp has stayed with me. Somehow I just don't think Reese Witherspoon could capture her; but I could be wrong. Like her name, she's a bit sharp...and well Reese, not really except that chin of hers.

    I think Dickens does this sort of character quite well - people are always on the make. I think there is also a comparison to be made to Sugar in Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White.

  • At 10:25 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Deana: Welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay & Happy New Year to you too!

    Bearette: I didn't get a chance to see the movie, though it sounds like they adapted Becky's character to be more palatable...which for me would destroy the pleasure of the character - though the costumes look sumptuous! I haven't read Anna Karennia - only seen the movie...nice and bleak! I've read War & Peace...but it takes forever to get through and can be difficult to keep all the characters straight in your head!

    Nutmeg: Have you seen Reese in "Freeway"? It's a black retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with Kiefer Sutherland playing the wolf character...she's very conniving and manipulative in this - one of my favourite movies. I definitely prefer dark characters as there is, generally speaking, more substance to them. I haven't read The Crimson Petal & the wishlist is forever expanding! BTW I just received "March" from Amazon today - I'm looking forward to starting it.

  • At 10:45 pm, Blogger rashbre said…

    I've also enjoyed Vanity Fair and there was even a recent radio dramatisation, which kept a remarkably modern quality about it.

    and "Yoi otoshi o" to you to - Michele sent me!


  • At 11:35 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Rashbre: Was that a BBC radio dramatisation?

  • At 11:40 pm, Anonymous Terri said…

    Shame on me...but I've also never read either of these.
    And strange enough...I happened to post my Thursday Thirteen this past week about this very subject. Classics that I haven't read...but might. Perhaps I should add Vanity Fair to that list.
    Visiting here from Michele's.....

  • At 11:48 pm, Blogger craziequeen said…

    I've not read Vanity Fair since school.

    But I am definitely drawn towards more three-dimensional characters.

    Michele sent me

  • At 11:56 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Terri: In my opinion it's worth adding to your list!

    CQ: Based on the above comments, I'm starting to think that Americans don't have to read these English classics in school? I wonder what they do have to read?

  • At 12:33 am, Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said…

    Becky Sharp is a colourful woman. One of my favourites is Emma Bovary (from Madame Bovary. Best actual historical character is Anne Boleyn.

    Michele sent me here.

  • At 12:37 am, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    JLP: Did you know that Anne Boleyn had 6 fingers on one of her hands?!

  • At 4:26 am, Blogger Bearette24 said…

    VK - it's interesting, in college or on our own we read the english classics, but in high school (at least at mine) they assigned more american books - the scarlet letter, the great gatsby, the catcher in the rye, ethan frome, etc.

  • At 1:19 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Bearette: I guess I was lucky to grow up in Australia as we had to read a mixture of British and American classics!

  • At 5:52 pm, Blogger My float said…

    Vanity Fair drove me out of uni. True story. I couldn't stand it. I sat through Chaucer and goodness knows what else but Vanity Fair? Killed me.

  • At 9:38 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    MF: Give it another try!

  • At 9:28 pm, Blogger Bybee said…

    I'm reading Vanity Fair and loving it. I'm almost positive that Margaret Mitchell loved it as well. Becky Sharp and Scarlett O'Hara have a very similar style of dealing with people. Becky and Scarlett also have green eyes that they know how to use on the opposite sex. I enjoy this book so much that I'm afraid to see the movie!

  • At 8:01 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    Bybee: Welcome! I've never been much of a GWTW fan...but an interesting observation!


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