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Thread: Edith Wharton

  1. #1
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    United States Edith Wharton

    Some authors are in a class entirely their own, and Edith Wharton is one of them. Edith was born Edith Newbold (Jones) on January 24, 1862, in New York, New York. Her family was socially prominent and affluent, and she was educated privately at home and in Europe. She learned several languages, among them French, Italian, and German, and, at the age of 12, decided to write her first story. It began as follows:

    "Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?" said Mrs. Tomkins. "If only I had known you were going to call I should have tidied up the drawing-room."

    When Edith showed her first attempt at fiction to her mother, she was struck by the curt and cool observation, "Dining rooms are always tidy." However, by the time she was 15, Edith had long forgotten her mother's words and, in January 1877, she began writing a thirty-thousand-word novella that would eventually be called Fast and Loose.

    A perfectionist who was highly critical of her own work, Edith spoke deprecatingly of the novella in New York and London periodicals, saying, "It is a false charity to reader and writer to mince matters. The English of it is that every character is a failure, the plot a vacuum, the style spiritless, the dialogue vague, the sentiment weak, and the whole thing a fiasco."

    During this same period of time, the young Edith also lent her hand to verse, moving from dramatic and historical poetry to lyrical poems. She was devoted to the works of such poets as Browning, Swinburne, Tennyson, and Rossetti, and also had some religious leanings. One of her poems centers around a visitation from Christ to the bed of a dead maiden and features the passage, "She is not dead but liveth."

    Edith made her social debut in 1879, and prior to this time her most significant social activities were going to church and to the theatre. Although later on Edith became quite gregarious, she was actually morbidly timid in her youth. She referred to this period as "a long cold agony of shyness," and abhorred being the object of attention.

    In 1885 Edith married Edward Wharton, whom she affecionately referred to as "Teddy." At the age of twenty-six, after a period in which writing and literature played but a small part in Edith's life, she returned to writing lyrical poetry. She sent three of the poems she wrote during this time to Scribners, Harper's, and the Century, all accompanied by calling cards. It was Scribner's that Edith had luck with. In October of 1890, Edith's poem, "The Last Giustiniani," was published. The poem is somewhat romantic in nature and is set in 18th-century Venice. It is loosely based on an actual incident that also provided the inspiration for Henry James' unsuccessful play, Guy Donville.

    While writing poetry, Edith was simultaneously trying her hand at writing fiction, as well. Her story, "Mrs. Manstey's View," a cozy tale about an elderly widow living in the back room of a New York boardinghouse, was published by Scribner's on May 26, 1890. Edith was twenty-nine at the time.

    In 1899, Edith's first collection of stories was published. It was called "The Greater Inclination." Although several of the pieces included in the collection are amateurish, at least a handful are quite good, perhaps even first-class. A year prior to publishing this volume, Edith compiled a list of her favorite authors and books, and much can be ascertained by the choices she made. Goethe's Faust, the writings of Marcus Aurelius (a favorite of my own, incidentally), Pascal's Pensees, and the poetry of Walt Whitman have high places on her list. As for novels, it appears she was largely interested in French literature. Two novels by Flaubert, Madame Bovary and Bouvard and Pecuchet,are included, along with Stendhal's Le Rouge et Le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parma. Rounding out the list are Benjamin Constant's Adolphe and Prevost's Manon Lescaut. In spite of Edith's lifelong adoration for Honore de Balzac, none of his books appear on this early list. It is thought that Edith liked all the ones she had read so much, that she was unable to make decisions as to which ones were her favorites. At a later date, Edith would say that what she loved and admired so much about Balzac were his characterizations of women, "as much compact of human contradictions and torn with human passions" as were his male characters.

    Edith's first novel, The Valley of Decision, was published in 1902. Three years later, Edith produced her masterpiece, The House of Mirth, which was both a critical and popular success. This book, which tells the ultimately tragic story of the headstrong, fiercely stubborn Lily Bart remains my favorite of all Wharton's many novels. To quote a passage from the opening of the book:

    "There was nothing new about Lily Bart, yet he could never see her without a faint movement of interest; it was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions."

    And, a passage from the first chapter that, I think, sums up the reasons for Lily Bart's tragic destiny:

    "She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like
    manacles chaining her to her fate."

    Indeed, Lily Bart is both a product and a victim of her times, and I daresay few authors could fully capture the character of a young woman of Miss Bart's ilk as skillfully as Edith Wharton does. It is not difficult to see why this book alone established Edith as one of the most important writers of her time. In the two decades following the publication of The House of Mirth, Edith turned out several of her finest and most famous novels, among them The Reef (1912), The Custom of the Country (1913),
    Summer (1917), and the dazzling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Age of Innocence. In spite of the scope, richness, and magnificence of many of these works, it is most likely for the short, grim Ethan Frome (1911) that Edith Wharton will be best remembered. Wharton has been noted for the original style and razor-sharp irony of this masterful work, and it is a book that fully demonstrates Wharton's dislike of the unmitigated standards of loyalty placed upon others by society. The plot of the book centers around three characters: Ethan, his wife, Zenobia, and Zenobia's young cousin, Mattie Silver. Although Ethan and Mattie fall madly in love, the romance, as is the case in much of Wharton's fiction, is doomed.

    Wharton's later work is usually thought to be inferior to that which she produced in during the early 1900s and 1920s. This decline is often attributed to the writing Wharton did for women's magazines. Among her other notable achievements is the fabulous Jazz-Age novel, The Twilight Sleep (1927), which deals with everything from sex and drugs to the occult and spiritual healing. She also wrote a manual in 1925 entitled The Writing of Fiction.

    Edith's personal life was quite eventful. She was very active in society and enjoyed close friendships with such literary luminaries as Aldous Huxley, Andre Gide, Jean Cocteau, and Henry James. At one point, she even wrote Huxley a letter in which she asked him to help her "understand" Dostoevsky's books. Although she was a brilliant woman, Edith was inclined to enjoy novels that were centered more around societal issues and relationships than deep, psychologically complex subjects. She was also a woman of who wasn't reluctant to share her strong opinions. In September 1922, after wading through James Joyces' Ulysses, she declared, "It's a welter of pornography (the rudest school-boy kind), and unformed and unimportant drivel." She also had little admiration for Virginia Woolf's fiction, though she conceded that she had "prodigious gifts in other directions."
    Edith's most notable role model, and the writer whom she owed the most to, was Henry James. Although many think much of Wharton's writing is more superficial than that of James, James himself was a great admirer of Wharton and felt that The Reef was her most remarkable novel.

    In her early 70s, Edith entered into a new phase of sensuality. She became very much attached to the French novelist, Colette, whom she called "one of the greatest writers of her time." She felt that Colette was able to fully convey the depths of female passion and said that she wrote about and understood the "tears in sensual things." She also enjoyed, while in her 70s,
    the works of such writers as W. Somerset Maugham, Sinclair Lewis, and, most especially, Theodore Dreiser, whose novel, An American Tragedy, she lavished high praise upon. At the same time, the classic authors of the nineteenth century from France, England, and Russia, remained what she liked best. In her book, The Writing of Fiction, she returns again and again to a rather specific list of names: Jane Austen, Balzac, Stendhal, Trollope, Thackeray, George Eliot, Meredith, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky (though not as often), and, to a lesser extent, Thomas Hardy and Joseph Conrad.

    Edith Wharton died just before six in the evening on August 11, 1937. Her coffin was transported to the Cimetiere des Gonards in Versailles on August 14. On her gravestone the words are inscribed:

    Edith Wharton
    Nee Edith Newbold Jones
    January 24, 1862-August 11, 1937

    Ave Crux Spes Unica

    Several of Wharton's novels have been made into films. Martin Scorsese's splendid, Oscar-nominated adaptation of The Age of Innocence is just one example. Both Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth have been made into stunning movies, and there was much speculation for awhile about a movie adaptation of The Custom of the Country starring actress Madeleine Stowe. However, in recent years there has been little talk about this.

    For more on Wharton, check out the Wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Wharton

    And:

    http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/wharton.html



    You can read more about my favorite Wharton novel, The House of Mirth, and order your own copy by going here:

    http://www.amazon.com/House-Mirth-Si.../dp/0451527569


    Any other Wharton fans here? I would love to hear your thoughts on her spectacular oeuvre of work, and I am also quite curious about what other listmembers' favorite Wharton novels and short stories are.


    All the best,
    Titania


    "The cleverest girl may miscalculate where her own interests are concerned,
    may yield too much at one moment and withdraw too far at the next..."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    Last edited by titania7; 21-Nov-2008 at 05:17.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

  2. #2

    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by titania7 View Post
    "Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?" said Mrs. Tomkins. "If only I had known you were going to call I should have tidied up the drawing-room."

    When Edith showed her first attempt at fiction to her mother, she was struck by the curt and cool observation, "Dining rooms are always tidy."
    I seem to remember reading about this from somewhere. Shari Benstock? To busy to look it up.

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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by lionel
    I seem to remember reading about this from somewhere. Shari Benstock? To busy to look it up.
    Lionel,
    I actually found this out via the Edith Wharton bio by R.W.B. Lewis.

    It seems that Lucretia Jones, Edith's mother, had a different opinion of her daughter's work not longer after the incident mentioned in my previous post. In 1878, Lucretia was so impressed by some of Edith's poems, that she compiled a selection of them and sent them to Newport to be privately printed by C.E. Hammett, Jr.

    Cheers,
    Titania

    "It certainly simplified life to view it as a perpetual adjustment, a play
    of party politics, in which every concession had its recognized
    equivalent..."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    I've just been browsing the chapter on Edith Wharton in Harold Bloom's book, Genius. I find it fascinating to learn that Bloom considers Wharton to be an extremely "sexual writer" and a master of what he terms "erotic realism." When I think of some of the scenes between the Countess Olenska and Newland Archer in The Age of Innocence, I think I see just what Bloom is speaking of. He speaks of Wharton's writing gifts in relation to genius as follows:

    "Wharton, who had an original genius for representing changing social realities, and for seeing deeply into the war between men and women, is for me a very mixed reading experience. But unpleasant genius is an essential part of what forms the genius of language. I don't like what Wharton sees or how she sees it, but she teaches me to see what I can't quite behold without her."

    Bloom's favorite piece of all Wharton's work, the ghost story, "All Souls'," is apparently a true tour-de-force. Bloom considers it to be perhaps the finest ghost story in the English language, and contrasts it to Henry James' "The Jolly Corner." I've read the latter, but haven't read "All Souls'." Has anyone else here read "All Souls'" or one or more of Wharton's other ghost stories??
    Along with Twilight Sleep, a book of Wharton's ghost stories arrived in the post yesterday. I notice, with great delight, that "All Souls'" is included in the collection! Also included is "The Pomegranate Seed," which I read last year and very much enjoyed.

    Cheers,
    Titania

    "While Freud asks, 'What do women want?' Wharton replies,
    'What have you got?'"
    ~Genius, Harold Bloom (Frontispiece 78)
    Last edited by titania7; 21-Nov-2008 at 12:22.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    All I appear to have in my little library is two collections of her stories. As I have time for so little else at present, are there any of her stories you would recommend?

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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    All I appear to have in my little library is two collections of her stories. As I have time for so little else at present, are there any of her stories you would recommend?
    Absolutely, Eric! Any and/or all of the following:

    "The Portrait"
    "The Pelican"
    "The Reckoning"
    "The Mission of Jane"
    "The Letter"
    "Bewitched"
    "The House of the Dead Hand"
    "Mr. Jones"



    Also, "The Pomegranate Seed" is mesmerizing, if a trifle vague. Of course, it is a ghost story--thus, I suppose we can excuse Wharton for her nebulousness. I have a confession, Eric. I don't own a book of Wharton's complete stories. In fact, I don't own that much of her short fiction. I continuously check out The Complete Stories of Edith Wharton from the library. I have just purchased the volume of ghost stories I mentioned in a previous post, and I frantically search every book sale and secondhand book shop for more of her stories.

    I hope the two slim volumes you have of Edith Wharton short stories will include a few of the ones I recommend, Eric.

    Incidentally, you can view a painting of the young Wharton (and find out even more about her!) at the homepage for the Edith Wharton Society:

    The Edith Wharton Society


    Cheers,
    Titania

    "It is surprising how little narrow walls and a low ceiling
    matter, when the roof of the soul has suddenly been
    raised."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    Last edited by titania7; 21-Nov-2008 at 16:21.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    Titania:

    Of the stories you mention, I have immediate access to the red ones.

    "The Portrait"
    "The Pelican"
    "The Reckoning"
    "The Mission of Jane"
    "The Letter" [Letters?]
    "Bewitched"
    "The House of the Dead Hand"
    "Mr. Jones"
    "The Pomegranate Seed"

    Plus several more. I shall behold the portrait.

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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Eric,
    You have a good selection there. It is actually "The Letters" (with the "s") that you want, not the other one. Of course I haven't read "The Letter," and I'm quite certain it's excellent, as well. However, "The Letters" is an unforgettable story. It's really quite splendid. I might even recommend starting with it....though the choice is yours, of course.

    I hope you enjoy the portrait of Ms. Wharton. In her youth, it would seem she was quite a striking woman!

    Cheers,
    Titania
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    For those who aren't as fortunate as Eric, and don't have any of Edith Wharton's short stories on hand, there is a section at The Edith Wharton Society website that features links to a wide selection of Wharton's stories.

    http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/wharton/shortstories.htm


    You can click on any story that interests you, and the e-text will appear. Enjoy!

    Cheers,
    Titania

    PS The link I gave previously to The Edith Wharton Society site was wrong. I apologize
    wholeheartedly for this error! I have now corrected the link. There is a "d" after the "campbell"
    that I somehow left out. It is back in now.
    Last edited by titania7; 21-Nov-2008 at 16:29.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    I have to admit, or maybe it is confess, that I have not sampled Ms. Wharton. Some part of me has mentally classified her in "chick lit," and once a writer falls into that black hole they are gone from my literary radar. Very few female writers have eluded that fate. However, I will add one or two of the short stories mentioned in this thread to the towering, teetering, verging on crashing down and crushing me with its weight TBR list, with no promise about when they might be read.

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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by Irene Wilde
    I have to admit, or maybe it is confess, that I have not sampled Ms. Wharton. Some part of me has mentally classified her in "chick lit," and once a writer falls into that black hole they are gone from my literary radar.
    Irene, I am a girl who has always thrived on "heavy" literature. I spent many years of my adolescence staying up half the night reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. I love deep, rich, psychologically significant writers. And when I was first given a copy of Summer by a friend of mine who was an accomplished violinist and a pseudo-intellectual, I was not very anxious to read the book. I just knew it would pale in comparison to the literature I was used to reading. Truth is, that particular work of
    Wharton's was a bit disappointing. Good, but somewhat incomplete (it is a short novel, in all fairness).

    However....chick lit? No, no, no! Definitely not. Lest you wonder, the other woman writer whom I consider to be in the same league with the male authors is George Eliot. Perhaps this tells you something? While I wouldn't regard Jane Austen as chick lit, she certainly lacks the level of penetrating insight that Wharton displays with such aplomb. Wharton is able to give those who read her a scathing look into the inner workings of society. Having been around a bevy of snobs starting at a very young age (classical music attracts them in droves!), I find it refreshing to read a writer who shows the devious, manipulative tactics they are capable of. Undine Spragg, in The Custom of the Country, is a clear-cut example of the female psychopath. She is an inveterate social climber who will stop at nothing to achieve what she wants. Consider adding this to your TBR stack, along with The House of Mirth. If you're disappointed in either book, let me know, give me your mailing address, and I'll send you however much $$$ the book cost. That is how strongly I feel about Edith Wharton's prose. In a word, she is brilliant. And I seriously hope there will NEVER come a day when Harold Bloom includes any "chick lit" writers in his books on literary geniuses.

    The first book that impressed me by Wharton was The Age of Innocence. However, I still wasn't hooked. It took The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth for me to say, "Hey, this lady can write!" I've read a plentiful amount of Henry James and am quite devoted to much of his literature. But in some ways Wharton is even better. She's more concise and gets to the point faster. Her insights don't get lost amid intricate passages and convoluted sentences. As short story writers, Henry James and Wharton are equals. There are certainly things about each of them that stand out. I would recommend highly James' "Beast in the Jungle" (I know this is a Wharton thread, but I cannot help myself! ) if you haven't read it. Get a copy now. Rush, rush, rush. I think it may well be among the top five short stories I have ever read. All men and women should read this story.
    It fully demonstrates what happens when we let a precious chance at happiness slip past us in hopes of finding some unattainable ideal.

    But back to Wharton....she has written many, many top-notch stories. I will tell you this, Irene, I wouldn't tell you to read her if I didn't believe in her myself. And if you look at my list of favorites in the 50 Favorite Books thread, you will see I don't read much "lightweight" literature. Indeed, my favorite authors are Dostoevsky, Balzac, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy,
    and Sandor Marai.

    My 50 Favorites:

    http://www.worldliteratureforum.com/...e-books-2.html


    I will hope to hear good things about Wharton from you when you do read her, Irene. Why you'd better like her, considering I've used just about every persuasive tactic on you that I could possibly think of!!!

    Cheers,
    Titania


    "It is less mortifying to believe one's self unpopular than
    insignificant, and vanity prefers to assume that indifference
    is a latent form of unfriendliness."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    Last edited by titania7; 21-Nov-2008 at 18:19.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by titania7 View Post
    Wharton is able to give those who read her a scathing look into the inner workings of society. Having been around a bevy of snobs starting at a very young age (classic music attracts them in droves!), I find it refreshing to read a writer who shows the devious, manipulative tactics they are capable of. Undine Spragg, in The Custom of the Country, is a clear-cut example of the female psychopath. She is an inveterate social climber who will stop at nothing to achieve what she wants.
    But the same can be said for "The Real Housewives of Orange County" so it's all in the telling, I suppose. (I am teasing, of course.)

    I am always interested in writers that generate such passion within their readers. So perhaps after Isherwood, and after The Wake, I'll clear some space for Wharton.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irene Wilde
    I am always interested in writers that generate such passion within their readers. So perhaps after Isherwood, and after The Wake, I'll clear some space for Wharton.
    I assure you that you won't regret it, Irene. The first time I read The Custom of the Country I was reading Middlemarch at the same time, and I never once felt that the former was inferior to the latter. Perhaps somewhat less dense, but every bit as ingenious.

    As you say, it is all "in the telling." Obviously, there have been many books about female psychopaths and social climbers. But comparing Edith Wharton's Undine Spragg with a flimsy, one-dimensional psychopath from the work of a B-rate novelist would be like comparing a cubic zirconia with a diamond. The zirconia may, under certain lights, look authentic, but any jeweler worth his/her salt would know the truth in a heartbeat. Well, what can I say? Wharton is the real deal.

    I hope your forays into Isherwood go well. I do love his play, I Am A Camera. There was a period of time when I fantasized about being Sally Bowles! I had one chance to try out for that part, but, when I got to the audition, it was announced that the part of Sally Bowles had already been cast. The director had set her mind upon casting an African- American actress in the part, and I am not African-American. So, no luck! I do very much adore the way Julie Harris portrays Sally in the 1950s film adaptation of the play, though. Perhaps you have seen this, Irene? If not, I do recommend it highly!


    ~Titania

    "Because a blue-bottle bangs irrationally against a window-pane,
    the drawing room naturalist may forget under less artificial
    conditions it is capable of measuring distances and drawing
    conclusions with all the accuracy needful to its welfare."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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    I think that Sally Bowles (I only know the Liza Minelli version) may have been a trifle na?ve on a couple of counts. She was totally unaware of the brewingly nasty situation in 1930s Germany. Michael York did show, by his bruises, that not everything was kosher in Nazi Germany at the time. The second bout of na?vet? was that scene, reminiscent of "Women in Love" where the gay German aristocrat danced near the fire with Isherwood's alter ego. (Later conversation between York and Minelli - Minelli: "I had him". York: "So did I". (Or: vice-versa.) Something for the LGBT thread. Joel Grey was also superb as the comp?re, ha, ha, ha. I find it piquant that the cantor in the Jewish wedding scene was, in real life... a cantor.

    Anyway, back to Edith Wharton. She's an author that looks interesting, a kind of Henry James, where subtlety and sophistication counts for a lot. I'm now going to read a few key stories. The novels will come; when I have time.

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    I've read and loved two of her novels, although it's been years since I read them. My favorite was The Age of Innocence. Wharton did such an amazing job of showing how fearful and claustrophobic New York society was at that time. I also liked The House of Mirth, but it was almost too wrenching for me. Thanks for reminding me that I would like to read more of her work.

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    I've not yet hit the wrench-agony, as described by Karen, principally, no doubt, because I've not yet read her novels. I'm reading stories, e.g. "The Pelican", and there Wharton pulls no punches. Subtle and ironic humour is very much highlighted in that story.

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    Default Re: Edith Wharton

    Great thread here, titania7. I have a copy of Ethan Frome, but haven't read Wharton. I do know that her home is in financial trouble. We'd all homestead that, now, wouldn't we?


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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by Karen
    I've read and loved two of her novels, although it's been years since I read them. My favorite was The Age of Innocence. Wharton did such an amazing job of showing how fearful and claustrophobic New York society was at that time. I also liked The House of Mirth, but it was almost too wrenching for me. Thanks for reminding me that I would like to read more of her work.
    Karen,
    I'm delighted to find another fan of Wharton's work. Wasn't The Age of Innocence magnificent? I've read it three times thus far, and enjoy it more each time. There is so much worth savoring in a Wharton novel--from the multi-faceted characters to the richness of the ambience, she is a master of the art of fiction. Don't you agree, Karen? I concur with you about The House of Mirth being a painful read (though it remains my favorite of all Wharton's books). After finishing it, the story and Lily Bart's tragic fate haunted me for weeks. Few books stay with you in such a potent way. There is a superb film adaptation of The House of Mirth, as well. Perhaps you've seen it, Karen? If not, I recommend it, in spite of the fact that I think Gillian Anderson is miscast as Lily. She is a fine actress, but she wasn't right for this particular role. But the movie is faithful to the book, which is saying something, in my opinion.

    When you read more Wharton, Karen, I highly recommend both The Custom of the Country and The Reef. I also enjoyed Glimpses of the Moon, though my mum was disappointed by it. It's a bit more superficial than the other Wharton novels I've read, but I still found it most enjoyable. Essentially, it's about a pair of con artists, a husband and wife team. Very entertaining, and, as is always the case with Wharton, quite stylishly written.

    Best,
    Titania
    Last edited by titania7; 23-Nov-2008 at 08:20.
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

  19. #19
    Join Date
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    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
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    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    I'm reading stories, e.g. "The Pelican", and there Wharton pulls no punches. Subtle and ironic humour is very much highlighted in that story.
    Eric,
    I'm pleased you're enjoying "The Pelican." I have rarely been disappointed by one of Wharton's stories, and "The Pelican" is certainly one of my favorites. From what I know of your taste in literature, I suspected that you might enjoy Wharton's writing. It appears that I was not mistaken! I look forward to your reading more of her stories, Eric, and plunging into one of her novels before too long .

    Cheers,
    Titania

    "No insect hangs its nest on threads as frail as those
    which will sustain the weight of human vanity."
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

  20. #20
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    1,213

    United States Re: Edith Wharton

    Quote Originally Posted by Beth
    Great thread here, titania7. I have a copy of Ethan Frome, but haven't read Wharton.
    Thanks for the compliment, Beth. I'm pleased you enjoyed the new thread. It seemed to me that Wharton was a writer who absolutely couldn't--and shouldn't--be overlooked! I hope you will consider adding Ethan Frome to your TBR stack, and, perhaps, collecting two or three of Wharton's other novels, as well. If you enjoy George Eliot, I know you will positively adore Edith Wharton. They are extremely different in terms of their style, but they are my two favorite women authors. And, if you like one of them, there is a good chance you will like the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beth
    I do know that her home (Edith Wharton's) is in financial trouble. We'd all homestead that, now, wouldn't we?
    Indeed we would! What an estate! I appreciate your bringing up this Wharton-related subject, Beth. I enjoyed the link, too.

    May you decide to explore Ms. Wharton's world of fiction soon!!

    Best wishes,
    Titania

    "'I'm not of the tearful order. I discovered early that crying makes
    my nose red, and the knowledge has helped me through many
    painful episodes.'"
    ~The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton (spoken by Lily Bart)
    "All men have the same defect: they wait to live, for they have not the courage of each instant.
    Why not invest enough passion in each moment to make it an eternity?" ~E. M. Cioran

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