Edith Wharton Archive

Deck the Halls–Merrily but Warily

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In literature, scenes of decoration are charged with dramatic potential. In leaving their marks on spaces in this exaggerated way, characters show themselves to us.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: Edith Wharton’s Design of New York City from the Inside Out

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Divided into chapters focusing on various elements of the home, The Decoration of Houses illustrates that Wharton’s design of New York in her literature worked from the inside out, proving that a woman could appreciate both the interior beauty of a space, while living life freely beyond the walls

Round-Up: Harper Lee, Subway Library, and Edith Wharton

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From a graphic novel adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird to New York’s new subway library, here’s the latest in literary news.

First Women in American Literature

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If you’re anything like me (and lucky for you if you’re not) then you’ve spent most of the last week wallowing your way from one shot glass to another and brushing your teeth with the cuff of your old college sweatshirt.

Fiction Responding to Fiction: Edith Wharton and Alice Elliott Dark

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“Roman Fever,” published by Edith Wharton in 1934 just three years before her death, is one of her short story masterpieces, and it is a story that has spawned many responses, including a modernized version by Alice Elliott Dark entitled “The Secret Spot.”

What Does Happiness Smell Like Don’t Say Madeleines

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Internet legend has it that Sephora employees will give any customer up to three free samples . The one time I witnessed a Sephora employee giving a customer free samples, said customer took offense. “Try this for your skin,” said the employee.

The Long Shadow Cast by Lily Bart’s Cosmetic Morality

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Lily Bart is nothing if not a master of self-denial, supremely talented at self-deception and shameless rationalization, which inevitably bleeds into her distinctive brand of morality. At the beginning of House of Mirth, Wharton is careful to clarify that Lily is not “scrupulous” in the traditional sense, but that

Majestic Endings

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  As I closed in on the first draft of a novel, I wrote toward an ending I’d held in my mind for months. It was a quiet climax in keeping with the, ahem, literary nature of my novel. I knew that when I finished the draft, I’d have

Borders

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We moved to Pittsburgh from the Northeast almost two years ago for my husband’s job. I tell people here I’m new to the city, usually as a way of explaining that it’s new to me, that my mental map is hazy and lots of references still slip right past.

“It’s Not You, It’s Me” & Other Reasons We Don’t Finish Good Books

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You’re sitting across from someone you really dig. One of you is fiddling with a napkin edge or straw wrapper, avoiding eye contact. One of you finally says: It’s not you. It’s me. And then the unraveling begins. One-sided endings are tough, and they occur in more than just