Introduction and Notes by Janet Beer, Manchester Metropolitan University. The House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, aged 29, beautiful, impoverished and in need of a rich husband to safeguard her place in the social elite, and to support her expensive habits - her clothes, her charities and her gambling. Unwilling to marry without both love ...
Introduction and Notes by Janet Beer, Manchester Metropolitan University. The House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, aged 29, beautiful, impoverished and in need of a rich husband to safeguard her place in the social elite, and to support her expensive habits - her clothes, her charities and her gambling. Unwilling to marry without both love and money, Lily becomes vulnerable to the kind of gossip and slander which attach to a girl who has been on the marriage market for too long. Wharton charts the course of Lily's life, providing, along the way, a wider picture of a society in transition, a rapidly changing New York where the old certainties of manners, morals and family have disappeared and the individual has become an expendable commodity. The House of Mirth was published in October 1905 to widespread critical acclaim. It became an instant bestseller and is regarded today as one of Edith Wharton's most accomplished and compelling social satires.
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Loved the outlay. Was very fascinating. Light and fun.
Aug 1, 2008
Wonderful and tragic to a point
The House of Mirth is about the tragic fall from grace of a beautiful New York socialite, Lily Bart. The story chronicles her desperate search for a husband as society gradually rejects her. Edith Wharton writes a very revealing, critical study of high-class society in the Gilded Age that is fascinating in part because it is at once unfamiliar and very similar to modern-day society. Her characters are well-crafted, she writes very well, and the subject matter is very interesting, if not at some points a bit dry and superficial.
According to Aristotle, tragedy is about making "fatal choices," and it is Wharton's exploitation of this idea that makes the book falter. Lily Bart makes so many fatal choices it's hard not to choke on them. It seems like every page, she makes a choice that is obviously (to the reader) a bad idea. No woman can possibly be this daft so often. Her character is only falling from grace because Wharton so desperately wants her to. (Oh, and she never LEARNS!) The shoddy character development brings this book down to 4/5 stars.
Publishers Weekly, 2013-02-25 Actress Eleanor Bron played Aunt Julia in the 2000 film adaptation of this Edith Wharton classic, which she brings to life in an enjoyable audio production. At the start, Bron's tones are cool and measured in keeping with heroine Lily Bart's calculated manipulations in arranging her marriage to a fantastically rich-if fantastically dull-bachelor. But Lily's efforts meet with little success, and Bron ably captures the desperate heroine as her suitor rejects her, her debts mount, and her options narrow. As Lily finds herself alone in what used to seem like a glittering world, Bron's rendition of the character's exhausted disappointment is pitch-perfect. This is a compelling audiobook with a memorable performance from Bron. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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