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The House of MirthTastes she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her in the luxury she has come to expect Whilst many have sought her something fastidiousness or integrity prevents her from making a 'suitable' mat Edith Wharton sets the New York social stage of the early twentieth century for a succession of short scenes that glitter with glossy superficiality Lightning backdrops and lush costumes are put on display to create a natural effect in this tableaux vivant of a novel where Lily Bart stands out as the most stunning living painting ever She is the leading actress of this theatrical narrative a delicate flower bred for exhibition and ornament whose beauty shines with the precise effortless grace and charm that will enable her to achieve her goals Being an orphaned single woman of twenty nine with frugal tastes Lily knows that in the gilded cage in which she blossoms and withers the only path to success is to become a saleable commodity that some wealthy gentleman will buy into marriageIt’s easy to find fault in Lily’s dignified composure Wharton treats her tragic heroine harshly She is vain snobbish selfish and as shallow as the stage of artificiality where she acts She covets money and social position above gentleness and compassion her ruthless anti sentimentalism is reflected in the hard glaze of her chiselled porcelain mask of complacency that in turn conceals her contempt for the parasitic life in which she has imprisoned herself But how much does the financial imperatives of this society in which wealth and not morality determines status influence in the making of stereotyped females grown up for mere decoration? “She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate”p8”I keep asking myself Is Lily a helpless victim or a hypocrite culprit? Guilty of presumptuousness or driven by desperation? The boundaries dividing the discrepant selves that coexist in Lily are as blurry as the thin line that separates fact from magic illusionI keep asking myself Who am I to judge Lily when I feel my life to be an ongoing seuence of scenarios where I play the roles my varied audience expects from me? She is as trapped as I am Lily’s broken wings don’t allow her to escape from the social jungle that made her what she is yet she craves for “freedom” and “happiness” while she keeps missing golden opportunities that present themselves in the form of eligible bachelors and running under obligations of generous cheues that are spent mindlessly on the card table And below the glittering surface of Lily’s existence a terrible sense of waste festers into growing despair She loves but denies herselfShe smiles but bleeds inwardlyShe wants to be saved but sticks stubbornly to her idea of successMr Selden offers Lily a place in his “republic where “freedom and success” are both possible “ ‘Freedom? Freedom from worries?’‘From everything – from money from poverty from easy and anxiety from all material accidents To keep a kind of republic of spirit – that’s what I call success' ” p78But Lily has no spiritual or actual home of her own like Woolf urged women to some years later and she clings feebly to the surface of her existence where she is swirled around by the turbulences of the social corset that asphyxiates herLoneliness poverty and isolation are the true protagonists of Lily’s desired House where there is no Mirth Lily’s frivolity is in fact a result of a deluded childishness that splits her troubled being in two halves the false one in perpetual display on the perfidious stage of society and the real one that radiates with emotional expressiveness in the last chapters of the novel when the mask of appearances is finally dropped and the bright tragic realism filters through the cracks of Wharton’s cardboard languageI don’t judge I sympathize I grieve But I can’t help but wonder how much of Lily’s story reflects Wharton’s professional career and the inherent conflict between her eagerness for popularity and the necessity to exorcize her own frustrations as a female writer in a sparkling scenario as facetious as her characters Hence my four stars saving the lacking one to pay homage to the fallen star in this House which is ironically full of Mourning

KINDLE The House of Mirth

DOC Ê READER The House of Mirth 9781844082933 FREE ↠ MONEYEXPRESSCARD î First published in 1905 The House of Mirth shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles portraying the moral social and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the rFirst published in 1905 The House of Mirth shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles portraying the moral social and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming th There’s actually little mirth in this story I read this after enjoying the author’s Ethan Frome and realizing again what a good writer Edith Wharton is Lily Bart belong to the ‘jet set’ of the early 1900’s She hangs out in New York mansions Newport and the Riviera As did the author Lily was from a wealthy family that spent down its fortune and then her parents died Now she’s looking for a husband with money She had some opportunities to marry earlier but she finds she’s waited a bit long – she’s 29 now and has to consider pompous milksop 40 year old mama’s boys and even someone who “might ultimately decide to do her the honor of boring her for life” Another is a “portentous little ass” Without a mother she doesn’t have anyone to play the field for her and line up men behind the scenes Her income is barely enough to keep up with her clothing budget and card playing money She lives with various aunts for periods of time I’m amazed at how much she and all these these folks talk about their money and money problems in casual conversation She’s very prim and proper in her relationships with men but she loses her reputation through no fault of her own She feels that “however unfounded the charges against her she must be to blame for their having been made” Her aunt dies and her money problems and her reputation problems force her to drop out of high society She takes a seamstress job and lives in a boarding house cementing her fate view spoilerHer reputation goes downhill when first she’s seen coming out of an unmarried man’s house where she went for tea not knowing the maid wasn’t in Then she makes the mistake of asking a friend’s husband to ‘invest’ 300 for her in the stock market He magically turns it into 10000 – basically giving her the money and then he spreads the story when he drinks He tries to use this to pressure her into a relationship tricking her into coming to his home when his wife is not here She’s seen coming out of the house Then she is deliberately and falsely accused of having an affair with another husband by a supposedly good friend who invites her on a yacht cruise to the Riviera The woman did this just so she could cover her own infidelities to her husband Lily falls in love with one of the men and he’s in love with her but her reputation scares him off She becomes addicted to a powerful sleeping drug hide spoiler

Edith Wharton ¿ The House of Mirth DOC

E responsibilitiesLily Bart beautiful witty and sophisticated is accepted by 'old money' and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches But as she nears thirty her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive What a piece of artIs our Lily BartSurrounded by men who don’t need much urgin’Yet Lily is a 29 year old virginShe’s a part of a truly disgusting society – the filthy rich of New York 1905 all they do is party till five in the morning and have discreet affairs and play bridge for money and get waited on hand and foot snap your fingers once for a Faberge egg on toast twice for a new hat made of ptarmigan feathers and rush off to Monaco and gamble and party and have affairs and snap their fingers for a new hat made of tigers eyelashes and oversee charitable foundations to help the limbless and get huffy if the gold plates of leftover anteater brains aren’t cleared away uick enoughFirst they all love Lily Bart because she’s tall and lovely and says the right thing to everybody But clearly she hasn’t said enough of the right things or she’d already have been married to a millionaire Something holds her back from making such an obvious move this leaves her in a position where she becomes a convenient woman to take the blame when there is some blame shifting to be done so she ends up stumbling around like a wounded okapi and the pack turns on her or really just shoves her to the side and moves on Edith skewers the appalling attitudes of the rich Judy knew it must be “horrid” for poor Lily to have to stop to consider whether she could afford real lace on her petticoats and not to have a motor car and a steam yacht at her orders; but the daily friction of unpaid bills the daily nibble of small temptations to expenditures were trials as far out of her experience as the domestic problems of the charwomanHere’s a great comment on one miserable attitude to the rich Such flashes of joy as Lily moved in would have blinded Miss Farish who was accustomed in the way of happiness to such scant light as shone through the cracks of other people’s livesI know that Edith Wharton came from the top of the top families of Old New York the ones who can’t remember how they came to be so rich but reading this you might think she was a Marxist because the only possible reaction to her detailed description of this nasty collection of human parasites is to support violent revolution Burn down their houses and off to Madame Guillotine for the lot of them Let the tumbrils roll What the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all are its own grave diggers Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are eually inevitable Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains They have a world to win No I don’t think that was our Edie’s intention but reading the House of Mirth could surely nudge a person towards the overthrow of capitalismTHE EDITH WHARTON STYLEIt can be convoluted Okay it’s ALWAYS convoluted Also the meanings of some words have changed The word “intercourse” for instance Hitherto he had found in her presence and her talk the aesthetic amusement which a reflective man is apt to seek in desultory intercourse with pretty womenPlease don’t waterboard this Wharton named EdieWhose mind being so sharp whose eyes being so beadyMake it tough for a reader depressingly needyWhose eyes are so blurry brain so weedyWe are daunted by sentences subtle and serpentine As un user friendly as a Trump supporting porcupineThese days we like novels to be important but easyAnd sleazy and cheesy and breezy not ueasyI will give a couple of examples –1 Ah lucky girls who grow up in the shelter of a mother’s love – a mother who knows how to contrive opportunities without conceding favours how to take advantage of propinuity without allowing appetite to be dulled by habit2Brilliant young ladies a little blinded by their own effulgence are apt to forget that the modest satellite drowned in their light is still performing its own revolutions and generating heat at its own rate3Lily walked on unconscious of her surroundings She was still treading the buoyant ether which emanates from the high moments of life 4And here is a description of a young mother returning from work to her baby Having passionately celebrated her reunion with her offspring and excused herself in cryptic language for the lateness of her return Nettie restored the baby to the cribThis is crazy overwriting and there are 300 pages of it Can be excruciating at times Can make you want to overthrow Edith Wharton violently But on the whole pretty good stuff But gloomy Did I mention that? It’s so gloomy you will need a Leonard Cohen album handy to listen to at the end in order to decompress Suggested song “First we take Manhattan” – obvious Ain’t no mirth in the house of mirth