Thackeray's Waterloo: history and war in Vanity Fair
Literature and History, 11, (2), .
Using contemporary writings about Waterloo gleaned from a number of primary sources, this paper places Vanity Fair in the context of what Eric Hobsbawm (1968) has described as a 'concentrated effort' on the part of the middle classes of the 1840s to `give themselves confidence and pride in their historic task' by `reshaping the institutions of Britain in a manner suitable to industrial capitalism'. It argues that one of the most crucial reshapings being carried out was the `official' history of war, and that it is a critique of this practice which lies at the heart of Thackeray's satire.
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