The Valley of Decision
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The Valley of Decision

3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  28 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Wharton's first full-length novel, "The Valley of Decision," is set in eighteenth-century Italy. Here Wharton pits folks inspired by the antireligious thoughts of Rousseau and Voltaire against the orthodox leaders of the day. Soon enough Wharton's night-constant theme comes through: this, like most other violations of personal convention, will come at a terrible cost.
Paperback, 344 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Alan Rodgers Books (first published 1902)
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“The Valley of Decision” is Edith Wharton’s first long novel, being published in 1902 after her two collections of shorter works, “The Greater Inclination” and “Crucial Instances”, and the novella “The Touchstone”. It is an impressive work, and Wharton’s writing is outstanding as usual. The scope and detail are there, but the execution is not quite up to the level which she would later attain.

“The story takes place in the later part of the 18th century Italy, and focuses on the life of Odo Valse...more
There are some beautiful descriptions in this book, but the basic premise was unclear to me. This may be because of my ignorance of 18th century Italian and European history. The impression I was left with is that Edith Wharton had a distaste for science, rationalism and the lower classes, and a religious belief that she felt a need to defend against atheism. Obviously from this review, I just ended up confused........and bored.
There are wonderful passages and vivid descriptions, but if this is her first long novel, I'm relieved she moved her settings closer to her own experience. If this were the first novel I read by Wharton, I'd probably never have made it to her greater works, e.g. Age of Innocence. Still worth reading.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a...more
More about Edith Wharton...
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