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- DescriptionAlthough Edith Wharton is usually identified with the old New York of such masterworks as The Age of Incence and The House of Mirth, she spent ten years living and writing in New England, a setting that appears in two vels, a vella, and fully a quarter of her short stories. In these works Wharton turns from portraying the monied and the mannered to probing inscrutable psyches and souls. The New England of these tales-which range from light comedy to horror-becomes a metaphor for fierce poverty, cultural barrenness, and an oppressive Puritan heritage that both fascinated and repelled Wharton. Thus the frigid, engulfing winter of Starkfield buries Ethan Frome in a living death. That sense of moral and emotional confinement also appears in The Angel at the Grave, as a young woman senses she has been walled alive into a tomb hung with the effigies of dead ideas. In The Lamp of Psyche, a visit to Boston relatives sheds new light on a woman's marriage; Xingu gently satirizes the sbbery of small-town huntresses of erudition ; Bewitched and All Souls' explore the theme of witchcraft. Barbara A. White's insightful introduction suggests that in these stories Wharton seems to have projected onto New England aspects of herself that she most feared: repression, coldness, inarticulateness, mental starvation, and even lack of high culture.
- Author BiographyBARBARA A. WHITE is Professor of Women s Studies, University of New Hampshire. Her books include Edith Wharton: A Study of the Short Fiction (1991) and American Women s Fiction, 1790-1870 (1990).
- Author(s)Edith Wharton
- PublisherUniversity Press of New England
- Date of Publication01/02/1995
- SubjectGeneral & Literary Fiction
- Series TitleHardscrabble Books
- Place of PublicationHanover
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintUniversity of New Hampshire Press
- Weight327 g
- Width140 mm
- Height216 mm
- Spine16 mm
- Edited byBarbara A. White
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