NY Review of Books essays on Wharton

I’ve found several interesting articles about Edith Wharton and The Age of Innocence in The New York Review of Books archive.  I’m posting PDFs of three:

In 1993, John Updike wrote an essay, “Archer’s Way,” that makes a number of interesting points about The Age of Innocence, and then culminates in a discussion of Proust’s influence on Wharton:

Proust and Wharton, though they lived but blocks apart and had a number of friends (including André Gide and Walter Berry) in common, never met; but she was among the early enthusiasts for Swann’s Way, which came out in 1913.

Louis Auchincloss‘s review, Good Housekeeping, comments on an early work of feminist criticism –  a book by Judith Fryer (former UMass English professor) that discusses how Edith Wharton and Willa Cather created spaces for their women characters to inhabitPublished in 1986, the review is a bit of a period piece, as Auchincloss’s language reflects a liberal male intellectual of the 1980’s trying to cope with new voices in the academic landscape.  But the comparisons he cites between Wharton and Cather might be of particular interest for us.

Edmund White wrote a long review of a major biography, Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee, published in 2007.  The House of Edith discusses how Wharton’s own experiences affected her novels – in particular, how reflections on her own terrible marriage can be found in The Age of Innocence.  The essay is longer than the others I’m posting as it contains a good deal of biographical detail.  (Eight pages.)

John Updike essay, Archer’s Way (1993)

Louis Auchincloss reviews Judith Fryer’s Felicitous Space: The Imaginative Structures of Edith Wharton and Willa Cather (1986)

Edmund White, The House of Edith – review of Lee’s biography of Wharton (2007)



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