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Vanity Fair is among the richest and most entertaining of novels, a sparkling and witty story of English society during the Napoleonic Wars. A piercing satire of the Victorian middle classes, it was hugely popular from the moment of its first publication in 1847. The narrative follows two contrasting young women, the flighty and enterprising Becky Sharp and her more upright counterpart Amelia Sedley. Their adventures take them from Miss Pinkerton's Academy in Chiswick to the glamour of high society in both London and Paris. Along the way, Thackeray treats the reader to 'a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting' together with 'cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling'. The result is one of the true classics of nineteenth-century literature.