Department of English

Adjunct Professor George Christian will lead informal class on 'Vanity Fair'

Wed, September 1, 2010
Adjunct Professor George Christian will lead informal class on 'Vanity Fair'

As part of the newly launched Friends of TED (Texas English Department) initiative, Adjunct Professor George Christian will lead a six-week discussion of William Makepeace Thackeray’s nineteenth-century novel Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero. The Saturday morning talks, which are open to the public, begin October 2 at the Littlefield House.

Over the course of the six-week long informal class, Christian hopes to lead an “intensive” and “illuminating” discussion of Thackeray’s 1847 classic. The talks will address architecture, fashion, visual art, music, courtship rituals and food from the Regency period in which Thackeray’s novel is set.

An enduring satire, Vanity Fair skewers early nineteenth-century British society for its greed, materialism, and hypocrisy. “This endlessly innovative novel repays reading and re-reading,” Christian wrote on the Friends of TED web site. Christian said that he looks forward to reading, re-reading, and discussing the novel with those who attend the Saturday morning sessions.

For the first session, on October 2, Christian plans to discuss the novel’s historical and geographical context. “As we will see,” Christian wrote, “this peripatetic novel traverses not only geographic spaces, but the ambiguous and shifting interstices between public and private performance; class, gender, and racial identities; national and imperial cultures; narrative voices and generic modes.”

The talks will take place 9:30–11:00 a.m. every Saturday from October 2 to November 6 at the Littlefield House. Christian encouraged those interested in attending to read the book beforehand, but added, “[I]f you don’t have time, come anyway and enjoy coffee, scones, interesting company, and great literature!”

Visit the Friends of TED web site for more information, including a brief biographical sketch of William Makepeace Thackeray.

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