Edith Wharton’s New York
A part of the society she excoriated, a New Yorker by birth but perhaps not by inclination, Edith Wharton waited until she was out of the city’s orbit and ensconced at The Mount in Massachusetts before she began her great New York novels. Over the course of twenty years away from the metropolis, her views of the city morphed with the times, mostly with a backward glance, sometimes winsomely, often savagely, but with a keen eye for everyone’s failings except perhaps her own. In this literary seminar course, we’ll read the four most famous New York novels to trace Wharton’s art, craft, politics, wit, and myopia for a better assessment of the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and a lasting icon of literary fame.
Reading: House of Mirth, Book I