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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Edith Wharton

I've been immersed, on and off during the summer, in Hermione Lee's excellent biography of Edith Wharton. I have to say "on and off" because, for me, the effect of the book has been to make me want to put it down and read more of Wharton herself. I had never, for example, read "The Custom of the Country". Through the marital machinations of Undine Spragg, the social-climbing heroine, Wharton makes us understand the rapid social changes taking place at the turn of the century. (The "US" monogram can't have been an accident.) The Buccaneers, her last novel, which deals with the phenomenon of the marrying of rich young American women to impoverished but titled foreigners, was finished posthumously by Marion Mainwaring. It's not quite up to the level of her other work - a little soap-opera-ish - but still engrossing.

If you never got beyond "Ethan Frome", consider taking another look at Edith Wharton.


Blogger nina said...

Hermione Lee is a superb writer herself. Try her Virginia Woolf. Ufff!!!

9:44 AM  
Blogger SuperMom said...

As long as the rest of her work isn't as depressing as Ethan Frome...

11:29 AM  
Blogger sixty-five said...

Oh far from it! In fact, as a Jane Austen fan, you're in for a huge treat. Start with The Age of Innocence, or The House of Mirth,or, for that matter, The Custom of the Country. You'll love it all.

11:51 AM  

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