Why did William Makepeace Thackeray write "Vanity Fair" Was there something in his life that urged him to write this novel?

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While certainly Thackeray had moral and aesthetic reasons for writing the novel, he also had financial ones.  He wrote it as a serial (installments in magazines) to make money.  Although born into the class of a gentleman, he had lost money through investments.  He saw himself as competing against Charles Dickens, who also wrote for serial publications.  However, Thackeray never reached the popularity gained by Dickens, but he certainly was sufficiently successful to be called a genius by his contemporaries and thereby winning back his status as a “gentleman.”

renelane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Thackeray spoke about the need for his novel to be more than merely enjoyable, it delivered a moral and a message. Obviously, Thackeray found the superficiality and vanity of society to be problematic, being that all of these characteristics were demonstrated in his character, Becky Sharp.