By Viola van de Sandt
Edith Wharton’s most famous novels – among them The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), and The Age of Innocence (1920) – have earned her a steadfast place within the modern-day canon of American literature. Yet some of the most interesting and provocative instances of her writing are also to be found in her letters, notes, and memoirs.
1. Wharton noted down every witty statement that came to her mind in a book of epigrams, some of which eventually found their way into her novels or short stories. Among them are classic quotes such as ‘For always getting what she wants in the long run, commend me to a nasty woman,’ and ‘Mr and Mrs Wetherall’s circle was so large that God was included in their visiting-list.’
2. The House of Mirth caused a huge scandal at the time of its serial publication between…
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