“Are not there little chapters in everybody's life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?”: First Edition of Thackeray's Vanity Fair, Finely Bound by Bayntun

  • Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero.
  • Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero.

Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero.


Item Number: 69017

London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848.

The first edition, first issue of Thackeray’s masterpiece. Octavo, bound in full red morocco by Bayntun Riviere in Cosway-style binding with a miniature portrait of Thackeray inset into the front panel, engraved frontispiece, engraved additional title, and 38 engraved plates, spine in gilt compartments, gilt inner dentelles, all edges gilt, ivory silk doublures. The first issue, with the headline on page one in rustic type; “Mr. Pitt” on page 453; and the suppressed woodcut of Mr. Steyne on page 336. Van Duzer 231. In fine condition. An exceptional example.

Vanity Fair was Thackeray’s first major work and established his continued high standing among Victorian novelists. “After that book [Vanity Fair] there could be no doubt about the greatness of its writer… at last the novel of real life on the great scale has been discovered” (Saintsbury, in Grolier, English Prose Fiction, 102). “As Thackeray’s masterpiece this novel has outlasted the great majority of his work… The Waterloo scenes are among the best narrative passages in an English novel. Of her type, Becky has never been bettered, and the author’s famed irony still stings” (Farrow, 50). It has been the subject of numerous television and film adaptations, most recently into the 2004 film directed by Mira Nair, starring Reese Witherspoon, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Bob Haskins.

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