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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

  

by William Makepeace Thackeray

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

  • Hester Chapone (1.3)
  • Gaetano Donizetti (4.69)
  • Crebillon the younger (10.5)
  • Charles Pigault-Lebrun (15.9
  • William Guthrie, New Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar (3.26)
  • Shakespeare, The Tempest (3.31)
  • William Howell, Medulla (4.55)
  • Thomas Dilworth, New Guide to the English Tongue (4.55)
  • Bell's Life, a boxing magazine (5.34)
  • Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers (7.47)
  • Fanny Burney, Cecilia (8.5)
  • Ann Radcliffe, Udolpho (8.20)
  • Debrett, a directory of peerage and nobility family trees (9.15)
  • Tobias Smollett, History of England and Humphry Clinker (10.5)
  • Richmal Mangall, Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young People (12.2)
  • Shakespeare, Cymbeline and A Midsummer Night's Dream (12.22)
  • Annual Register, a yearly miscellany – (24.30)
  • Thomas Morton, Speed the Plough (36.2)
  • The Whole Duty of Man (40.4)
  • Shakespeare, Othello (43.28)
  • Alexander Pope, "The Rape of the Lock" (48.20)

Folktale, Biblical, and Mythology References

  • Michael Kelly, Bluebeard, an opera based on the folktale (3.26)
  • The Arabian Nights (3.26, 5.16)
  • Minerva (1.24)
  • Francois Fenelon, Telemaque, a mawkish, didactic epic about Odysseus's son, Telemachus (5.43)
  • Methuselah, a very old patriarch in Genesis 5:21 (8.13)
  • Silenus (8.61)
  • Agamemnon and Iphigenia (13.35)
  • Dives, a rich man in Luke 16:19 (14.56)
  • Croesus (14.57)
  • Omphale, the queen who enslaved Hercules (16.3)
  • Queen Esther, from the Old Testament Book of Esther (20.3)
  • Achilles (45.2)
  • Damocles (47.7)
  • Agamemnon and Clytemnestra (51.35)
  • Athena (56.25)
  • Jacob and his sons Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin (61.3)
  • Becky as a Siren (64.1)
  • Circe (66.23)

Historical References

  • Napoleon and his European campaign (throughout)
  • East India Company (throughout)
  • Prince Regent (later George IV) (throughout)
  • Semiramis (1.31)
  • Beau Brummel, famous Regency dandy (3.30)
  • Vauxhall, famous pleasure garden (4.6)
  • Daniel Lambert, famous exhibited obese man (6.26)
  • Queen Elizabeth (7.1)
  • William Pitt, Sir Robert Walpole, John Churchill, King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Henry Dundas, powerful politicians after whom the Crawleys are named (7.2)
  • Gretna Green, a Scotland town famous for being the destination of elopers (16.22)
  • Alexis Soyer, famous chef (19.1)
  • Frascati's, famous Parisian gambling "hell" (36.9)
  • Blue Books, official government reports (45.19)
  • Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days (50.26)
  • Astley's, famous horse circus (52.11)
  • Burke, Thurtell, & Hayes, famous murderers (67.79)

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