By Katherine Joslin (auth.)
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Extra resources for Edith Wharton
If he succeeds in taking her "beyond" to the realm of personal freedom and autonomous selfhood, what are they to do once they arrive? To marry places them back in the social structure with the mundane questions of where and how to live on his income. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH 51 Over the course of the novel, two genres collide: the female domestic story and male pastoral romance. The traditional domestic story, as Nina Baym explains it in Woman's Fiction, tells a variation of one basic tale. A young woman, who in the opening of the novel is somehow deprived of support, finds that she must win her own way in the world.
And I wonder, a little desolately, which? (Letters, 483) Many readers and critics believed that she had adapted her style to fit the slick magazines of the 1920s; increasingly distant from the New York of her youth and middle age, many argued that she either borrowed depictions of modern America or reverted nostalgically to an idealized view of her past. They were right, I think, to notice the change in her writing after the war, but the wholesale dismissal of her later works is more the result of a failure to read the novels, rather than their inferior quality.
There was no way out- none" (EF, 134). In her industrial novel The Fruit of the Tree, Wharton presents the town of Hanaford as a villainous force: "In obedience to the grim law of industrial prosperity, it would soon lose its one lingering grace and spread out in unmitigated ugliness, devouring green fields and shaded slopes like some insect plague consuming the land" (FT, 24). Much later, in The Age of Innocence Wharton adopts the language of the anthropologist. As Ellen Olenska is ousted from the New York clan, Wharton tells us, ''There were certain things that had to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and thoroughly: and one of these, in the New York code, was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about to be eliminated from the tribe" (AI, 334).