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Preview — The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
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The House of Mirth
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Introduction by Pamela Knights
In The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton depicts the glittering salons of Gilded Age New York with precision and wit, even as she movingly portrays the obstacles that impeded women's choices at the turn of the century.
The beautiful, much-desired Lily Bart has been raised to be one of the perfect wives of the wealth...more
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It is, perhaps, apposite that I came to this with my mind still fresh from Anita Desai's stirring homage to a resolutely single, unsung fictional heroine who holds together a disintegrating family, unacknowledged, misunderstood, left behind and forgotten (Clear Light of Day ...more
Her tragic story
will break your heart
She runs in the best circles
Wears the right clothes
And flirts with rich men
But everyone knows
That she needs to marry
Someone – and fast!
At 29 her looks won’t last
She’s ringing up debts
Borrowing from men
And displeasing their wives
Not to mention her friend
Lawrence Selden, a lawyer
(but not very rich)
It’s Gilded Age New York
And life’s a bitch
If you’re not “old money”
Like the Trenors, Dorsets
And that odd Percy Gryce
The most you can do is p ...more
“Her whole being dilated in an atmosphere of luxury. It was the background she required, the only climate she could breathe in.”
Veblen in his "Theory of Leisure Class' (written six years before this book) argues that one of the way leisure class show their wealth is by maintaining people who will sit idly for them. The chief example is of wives, where richest men do not want their wives to be doing paid jobs - do and own charities - yes, art exhibitions -yes, partying - yes, just not doing an ...more
Lily Bart, the protagonist in The House of Mirth, is such a captivating and tragic figure that she has stayed in my mind for years. Of course, creating great characters ...more
“She had no tolerance for scenes which were not of her own making.”
Edith Wharton had a particular way of writing which was a bit difficult to tune into at first but once I got the hang of it, it was real beautiful.
Which was why I am saddened to give this such low rating. Just saddened.
From the very start I really liked Lily Bart... until the second half of the book, then, I couldn't stop myself getting annoyed with her everytime: her indecision, her actions and mostly just.... HER.
Those of you in the USA have probably seen it – it follows over-privileged kids as they organize and throw their lavish 16th birthday parties. But what I find scary about it aren't the 6-figure cars these ...more
I have this theory that the mark of great literature is that no matter how many times you read it, you can always plausibly hope, as a reader, that things might turn out differently in the end. Not that the actual ending is wrong; it's just that the character of Lily Bart is so alive for me, I seriously believe she might make a different ch ...more
Mrs. Lloyd by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1775)
In our imperfectly organized society there is no provision as yet for the young woman who claims the privileges of marriage without assuming its obligations.
Oh, how I delighted in this book. How I bathed in the world Edith Wharton created, this world belonging to beautiful Lily Bart, as she navigates through the temptations and perils of society of the early twentieth century. I was charmed, transported and moved as she tries desperately to cling to the ...more
I recently finished your book, The House of Mirth and am once again left disappointed. I so very much want to love your books. Your style of writing is beautiful and real, but the characters, oh the characters! I feel like I get to know them so well, and feel such hope for them, only to be crushed down at the end!
Let us not start with Lily Bart as that would be jumping in rather hastily. First, let's discuss the handsome Lawrence Selden, that book-loving, philosophical lawyer wh ...more
“Wasn’t she too beautiful, Lawrence? Don’t you like her best in that simple dress? It makes her look like the real Lily – the Lily I know.” p.142
Let’s begin with rich, beautiful people. I am neither, and I come from a long line of neithers. I come from hardy, working-class stock – Scots-English, mostly. Lots of ‘em orphaned or abandoned and left to fend for themselves as a result of various kinds of neglect, addictions or just plain ...more
The House of Mirth centers on a privileged white female named Lily Bart who's navigating the precarious social landscape of New York City and its environs at the tail-end of the nineteenth c ...more
The House of Mirth is the story of Lily Bart, a beautiful young woman, who gets into money-related trouble, which haunts her for many years to come. Wh ...more
From a social gathering, large and polite.
Asked how he'd liked it, the scholar said:
'If they were books, I'd leave them unread.'
Goethe, East-West Divan
[Note: Republication with new intro quote, after accidentally deleting book and review when removing it from one shelf when I thought it was on another. My apologies.]
A superb, timeless novel that went to my top 50 because it was a real kick in the a$$ to NYC upper class society in the early 20th Century. So, ...more
However the book was overwhelmingly depressing. Lily's fall from grace was so unfair and so extreme and I constantly wanted to see her find some way back. The ending is the ultimate in downers. So only three stars from me:(
All the men and women she knew were like atoms whirling away from each other in some wild centrifugal dance...
House of Mirth is a satirical portrait of New York high society at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries . Opulence and sumptuous life , luxury and carelessness , false glitter , rituals and conventions . All that creates the title house of mirth , world of fun and easy pleasure , fascinating and cruel at the same time . Absolute vicious circle .
Lily Bart is charming and beautiful ...more
I am trying to figure out the building blocks behind this novel: the history of society which lead up to an upper class woman confronting the mores and values of the time by writing this book and rocking the boat from within.
Published in 1905, Edith Wharton obviously knew her 'customers' since this book was aimed at the very class she was born into, and not written for the 'plebs' roaming the universities in the hope of improving their chances to join the selected few. Neither did she use a lan ...more
What a long, winding and tragic journey I've just been through with dear Lily Bart. Could Edith Wharton be the Queen of hopeless love affairs? I believe so.
House of Mirth is the third novel I've read by Edith Wharton and it ranks as such, behind Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence. Mirth is the longest of the three novels and has the largest cast of characters, all of ...more
The House of Mirth chronicles the rise and fall of Lily Bart, a stunningly beautiful late-nineteenth-century socialite wh ...more
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