Sunday, December 06, 2009
Listening to Vanity Fair
Posted by JaneGS
I'm on disc 9 of 23 of Wanda McCaddon's incredible reading of William Makepeace Thackeray's Vanity Fair.
I read it back in an Austen-to-Dickens class in college, and raced through it, wrote on okay paper on it, checked it off as read, and promptly forgot about it, which is a shame because it really is a very enjoyable novel. Partly I think that I am now, being completely middle-aged, able to accept and even like a novel that boasts that it is without a hero, and partly Wanda McCaddon's reading is perfect. Vanity Fair's narrator can be irritating on paper--the condescending coyness and satiric edge makes the novel seem more dated than either Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre, both of which were published in the same year as Vanity Fair--but McCaddon softens the edges and infuses the condescension with a touch of sympathy, making it more appealing...at least that's my current theory. We'll see how I feel after I've listened to the other 14 CDs!
I did watch the Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp movie on a long flight a few years ago, but I'm afraid that Reese is just not living up to my current image of Becky, whom I admire in the same way I admire Scarlett O'Hara. Glad she's not in my family, but I admire her none the less, at least at this stage of the story, which is not even the half-way mark.
Let me know if you can recommend any adaptations of Vanity Fair, as I'll be wanting to watch one sometime in 2010.
One parting thought, I've never read A Pilgrim's Progress, and I really should as virtually all of my favorite writers apparently read it regularly, but while thinking about the metaphorical "Vanity Fair" that Thackeray's characters inhabit I found myself thinking about A Pilgrim's Progress. And lo, when I Googled I discovered that Thackeray wrote Vanity Fair with A Pilgrim's Progress in mind. I suppose I knew that, after all I studied the book in college. That must have been part of a lecture on the book! I wonder whether Wanda McCaddon has recorded A Pilgrim's Progress.