This masterly new biography of Edith Wharton paints a portrait of a fiercely modern author, writing of sex, love, money and war - a woman of strong convictions and conflicting ambitions and desires. Delving into every aspect of her extraordinary life story, the book shows in fascinating detail how she worked and what lies at the heart of her ...
This masterly new biography of Edith Wharton paints a portrait of a fiercely modern author, writing of sex, love, money and war - a woman of strong convictions and conflicting ambitions and desires. Delving into every aspect of her extraordinary life story, the book shows in fascinating detail how she worked and what lies at the heart of her magnificent and elegant works.
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I was eager to read this new biography of one of my favorite novelists, but, unfortunately, either Wharton's life was simply duller than I anticipated, or Lee has rendered it so. The book flies through Wharton's childhood and early married years with little detail and gets overly caught up in her travels abroad--complete with long (and untranslated) passages in French and Italian from Wharton's journals that are particularly annoying. Lee does attempt to tie events in Wharton's life to characters, settings, and themes in in her novels, but the overall structure of the biography is uneven and the style and content dry.
Jun 3, 2007
An insightful Wharton bigraphy
This weighty volume [880 pages] is one the best Wharton biographies available. Hermione Lee who did an excellent job on her biography of Virginia Woolf, has come up with another comprehensive biography of a novelist Edith Wharton [Custom of the Country, House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence]. Through this biography we learn of the complexities of Ms Wharton's life. She was accomplished in many fields, not just writing, and was a well-travelled person, as wellas a dabbler of other pursuits such as interior decorating. Her personal life, we learn, was quite complex, having married young to a much older man, a union that was dissolved after many years, and we also learn of her liaison with an American journalist. We learn that she preferred the company of men as friends and also that most of her inspiration for writing came from her own personal experiences. This is a well-researched compendium on Wharton and is a valuable addition to the library of any Wharton scholar or fan.
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