Ruth's Reviews > The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
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Nov 28, 07

Read in January, 2001

She's got Henry James beat hands down.

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message 1: by Jon (new)

Jon I know it.

Ruth Plus a wicked sense of humor.


Paul Bryant You sold me.

message 4: by Jessica (last edited Nov 30, 2007 09:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jessica Edith Wharton is brilliantly-shimmering-goddess-like belle to Henry James's obscurely-endearing-though-overly-loquacious uncle. She's written some of the greatest "I heart NY" books of all time. Henry James is an absolute drag by comparison, even his easy, accessible stuff. The characters and world of Washington Square were so dull I just could not see the point of finishing it. If Wharton's novels went to the same party as James's, other book guests would get stuck by the bar with his novels having awkwardly dull conversations about the Times editorial staff or various Columbia masters programs, while Wharton's would fly breathlessly around the room in a glorious waltz, with everyone else chasing after, plying them with cocktails and drugs and ridiculous compliments.

In other words, I agree!

Ruth And after the dance they'd get together and skewer everyone there with delicate and witty aplomb.


Paul Bryant That reminds me, I must trawl Bookface to see what bugeyed crazies have read HJ's last three unreadable masterpieces. I haven't dared yet. Maybe you guys already did boldly go.

Jessica Apparently The Golden Bowl is "not the easiest read."

Paul Bryant Virginia Woolf, letter to Violet Dickinson, Sunday 25 August 1907 :

"Well then, we went and had tea with Henry James today, and Mr and Mrs Prothero, at the golf club; and Henry James fixed me with his staring blank eye — it is like a childs marble—and said "My dear Virginia, they tell me—they tell me—they tell me—that you—as indeed being your father's daughter - nay your grandfather's grandchild—the descendant I may say of a century —of a century—of quill pens and ink—ink—ink pots, yes, yes, yes, they tell me—ahm mm—that you, that, you, that you write in short." This went on in the public street, while we all waited, as farmers wait for the hen to lay an egg —nervous, polite, and now on this foot now on that. I felt like a condemned person, who sees the knife drop and stick and drop again. Never did any woman hate 'writing' as much as I do.
But when I am old and famous I shall discourse like Henry James. We had to stop periodically to let him shake himself free of the thing; he made
phrases over the bread and butter , and told us all the scandal of Rye. "Mr Jones has eloped, I regret to say, to Tasmania; leaving 12 little Jones, and a possible 13th to Mrs Jones; most regrettable, most unfortunate, and yet not wholly an action to which one lias no private
key of one's own so to speak."

Ruth Heehee, Paul. I love it.


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