I suppose I could have forgotten The House of Mirth and just shrugged her off as another WASP writer stewing in her class prejudices. But I enjoyed Wharton's work too much, had written about it and even taught her fiction over the years. And The House of Mirth is just too powerful a book to ignore.
I understood that the authors were products of their society and a western culture that was ingrained with Jew-hatred, but it still pushed me out of the book the way a plot implausibility can make you lose faith in a movie.
Kicking off the new year is an eclectic bunch of workout jams. Pharrell Williams turns up with a jaunty number for which he filmed a 24-hour long music video. The band American Authors continues a climb up the charts with a song you might know best from a Lowe's commercial.
I'm often struck by the opening sentence of a novel or short story. It can draw me in and set expectations for what's to come. This isn't always true, of course, but a story's first line is the author's opening salvo.
Great ideas often need to simmer before they're ready to come out. These days, anyone working in the media (guilty) needs to know how to leverage various digital platforms in order to promote their brand and content.
Nobody's expecting Wharton to ever be as popular as Jane Austen. After all, Wharton had a much more jaundiced view of life than Austen did, and she's unlikely to be hijacked as a writer of romances, the way Austen has been.
Can the phrase "Great American Novel" only be applied to realistic novels that attempt to capture the mainstream American experience? Or can it be applied to other novels that are more diverse in terms of either subject matter or literary approach?
On a family vacation from Wisconsin to Dauphin Island, Alabama, we stopped at Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL to take a tour. In the front parlor there was a photograph of Honest Abe hanging on the wall.