The book also deals with the issue of honesty versus happiness. In the end, Durham decides to tell Mme de Malrive of the trap the Malrive are setting upf or her and thus destroy his personal chance of happiness. Likewise, Mme de Treymes' honesty to Durham about the Malrive family plot also destroys her happiness because she was living vicariously through Mme Malrive happiness.
This can be seen in the aristocrats difficulty in getting a divorce due familial and Church expectations whereas the Americans without significant familial history have more freedom in exercising choice. Perhaps this is the reason why American democracy cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world because by its very nature America is forward looking whereas traditional societies are really anchored in the past.
May 08, Dave rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , literature. It is a story about John Durham, and his desire to marry Fanny Frisbee, who is living in France and who became Madame de Malrive by marriage. Though separated from her husband and in custody of their son, Madame de Malrive fears that she cannot get a divorce which would allow her to marry John Durham. Durham goes to her cousin by marriage, Madame de Treymes, to try to determine if the family will allow a divorce.
The story was fairly predictable, and the moral contrast between the Americans Durham and Madame de Malrive verses Madame de Treymes and the rest of her family has been done better in other stories. That is not to say that this is a bad story, I am not sure it is possible for Edith Wharton to have written anything which falls into that category, it is just that this is far from her best or most interesting works. Aug 10, Shannon rated it liked it. This is more like two and a half stars, but I'm rounding up because the writing is so good. Also because the story seems to provide some of the details of what exactly might have been so awful about Ellen Olenska's marriage, which is something that I've always wondered about since I first read The Age of Innocence.
The premise, however, that Americans live by the codes of individualism and integrity, while continental Europe cares only for the outward integrity of the family, doesn't hold up ve This is more like two and a half stars, but I'm rounding up because the writing is so good. The premise, however, that Americans live by the codes of individualism and integrity, while continental Europe cares only for the outward integrity of the family, doesn't hold up very well. The contrast between John Durham and Madame de Treymes is interesting, but in the end they both seem faintly ridiculous, while I think Wharton intended that they should seem tragic and good.
The weight of society doesn't seem quite so real or destructive for them as it does for later Wharton characters. Her best novels make you feel how hopelessly trapped people are, but in this case it seemed like they could have worked things out if they had tried a little harder.
Spoiler Alert: I'm not revealing too much, but you may wish to skip this review if you plan to read the book. This novel is not really up to Wharton's usual standards. It's a quick read, somewhat dated. Mainly about a woman whose wish for a divorce and a new life with a good man is stymied by her husband's family, and as you read you can predict that she's just not going to succeed. You feel sorry for the poor thing because she is faced with a difficult choice - her new man or custody of her son Spoiler Alert: I'm not revealing too much, but you may wish to skip this review if you plan to read the book.
You feel sorry for the poor thing because she is faced with a difficult choice - her new man or custody of her son - and just when you feel she's going to be able to get her divorce and move forward it's revealed that it's not going to be that easy. Jun 10, Tucker rated it really liked it. He is unable to guess their motivation for helping him. Their personal choices are grounded in their cultures of social class and nationality. Apr 30, Erica rated it really liked it. OK, after wondering if Ms Wharton is just too much effort, I then took on more of a detective's approach.
I couldn't really figure out where a paragraph or even a sentence, sometimes was going until I got there. Being like a detective engaged me enormously: will I figure this out before the end of the paragraph? I can see why this style of writing became less popular, but it still has merits. Example regarding why Mme de Malrive hasn't petitioned for a divorce, worried that M de Malrive may get OK, after wondering if Ms Wharton is just too much effort, I then took on more of a detective's approach. Example regarding why Mme de Malrive hasn't petitioned for a divorce, worried that M de Malrive may get ugly for context, there's an 8 yr old son : "Short of a positive assurance on this point, she made it clear that she would never move in the matter, there must no scandal, no retentissement, nothing which her boy, necessarily brought up in the French tradition of scrupulously preserved appearances, could afterward regard as the faintest blur on his much-quartered escutcheon.
Apr 12, Harperac rated it it was amazing. In a lot of ways this reads like a first try at "The Age of Innocence," her later masterpiece, because it is mainly about how difficult it is to extricate yourself from the varied pressures that your family can bring to bear against you. Except in this case the family is French, and the girl trying to extricate herself is an American who has married in. It's funny how much Wharton plays up the inscrutability of French family life, here, and the comparative naivety of the Americans, when in "The In a lot of ways this reads like a first try at "The Age of Innocence," her later masterpiece, because it is mainly about how difficult it is to extricate yourself from the varied pressures that your family can bring to bear against you.
It's funny how much Wharton plays up the inscrutability of French family life, here, and the comparative naivety of the Americans, when in "The Age of Innocence" the Europeans are the disarmingly guileless ones and the Americans the inscrutable. Well, maybe she was right both times!
Anyway, this story is just vintage Wharton -- apt portraiture, sympathetic but also cutting at times. The plot moves along at a steady pace. As usual she's at her best painting the social scene in panorama, giving you a sense of the breadth of canvas our social actors play across. And, who can deny, there's something so charming about turn of the century Paris. Mar 28, Jenny rated it it was amazing. Edith Wharton, and most of the 19th and early 20th century female writers, save Jane Austen and L. Montgomery, always chose subject matters that irked me. This small novelette is no different, however, the way she writes is so intriguing.
I refuse to read Ethan Frome because in reading the fly leaf it just sounded like such a sad bastard novel that I might as well be reading the Bell Jar. But this one is different. The humor and the way it is written is well done, and although the ending is not Edith Wharton, and most of the 19th and early 20th century female writers, save Jane Austen and L. The humor and the way it is written is well done, and although the ending is not happy, it is thought-provoking. On the strength of this I might give Age of Innocence a go since I did enjoy the movie. Well done, Edith.
Dec 29, Fred Casden rated it it was amazing. From reading many of the previous reviews, I notice the great disparity in the ratings for this novella.
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In my mind, this work is extremely effective, the kind that could be used to demonstrate how a first-rate writer can effortlessly introduce essential narrative elements in a relatively short number of pages chap. May 24, Noel rated it it was amazing Shelves: classic , Wonderful very short, succinct novella which left me actually wishing it had been a longer book! I felt like I got to know the characters and wanted more of them. This is a tiny book maybe 3x4 inches , didn't quite feel like a "real" book, but it was not abridged.
Apr 22, Sayo rated it really liked it Shelves: John Durham wants to marry Fanny Frisbee, a woman separated from her husband. With the help of Madam Treymes, John is given the opportunity to help Fanny finalize her divorce, but it will come at a price. A short story about morals and how far one will go for what they want. Short and sweet, wouldn't mind a longer version of this story. Apr 27, Steven Godin rated it liked it. Nice novella, but Wharton is better suited for the novel.
Feb 27, Laura Henderson rated it really liked it. This book was well Written. This is my kind of reading. This is very interesting. I give it 3 thumbs up. A well written, fast paced little story. Very sad, but Durham is a very nice man.
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Dec 19, Hillary Copsey rated it really liked it. Divorce, deception and moral fortitude all in ish pages. I'm so glad I found this little novella.
A short novella about an American woman separating from her French husband. As always, a good show from Edith Wharton I love her! It was of particular interest to me, as an American living in Italy, to see how she compared the Americans with the French and how some details hold true today when comparing Americans and Europeans in general.
Jan 16, Melinda rated it liked it Shelves: read-in , classics. The story is about a man, called John Durham who travels to Paris and meet again with his previous girlfriend Fanny Frisbee, now Madame de Malrive, married to a Marquis. She and Monsieur de Malrive are separated and she and John falls in love. He proposes to her, yet she declines him. She has a son.
In the case of her getting a divorce, the father will get custody of the child, especially if the mother initiated it. The son was raised a catholic and back in the day divorce was forbidden The story is about a man, called John Durham who travels to Paris and meet again with his previous girlfriend Fanny Frisbee, now Madame de Malrive, married to a Marquis.
The son was raised a catholic and back in the day divorce was forbidden to Catholics. But all does not go so well in the end. This book was short and in the beginning, quite a confusing read. Dec 22, Coenraad rated it it was amazing. In this novella the eponymous character is instrumental to the happiness of an American businessman who would like to marry an American woman, but she has to divorce her French husband first. Madame de Treymes plays intricate social and moral games, complicating matters tremendously, leaving the reader slightly breathless at the end.
Wharton's rich late nineteenth century style carries the complex narrative elegantly. Madame de Treymes hou verskeie troefkaarte in haar hand en oefen groot invloed uit oor die liefdeswel en -wee van 'n Amerikaanse vrou wat van haar Franse man Mme de Treymes se broer vervreemd is, maar nie van hom wil skei om vir die Amerikaanse besigheidsman wat graag met haar wil trou, die jawoord te gee nie weens die regspisisie van haar seuntjie. Soos hy skryf sy in 'n ryk gedetailleerde laat negentiende eeuse styl. This is an uneven collection of four of Edith Wharton's short novels or long short stories , and it highlights the difference in quality her work was sometimes capable of displaying.
The two good stories are very good "The Touchstone," "Madame de Treymes" , and of the remaining two one is flawed, but still evocative and interesting "Sanctuary" , and the other is not very good "Bunner Sisters" , though still readable. Nov 16, Lisa rated it really liked it. Madame de Treymes is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. This shorter work of hers reminded me of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, another great work. While reading Madame de Treymes, I could picture everything, as if I was watching it in film. I loved the author's choice of setting in France and the time period as well, which the author would have full knowledge about.
Edith Wharton captured the art and soul of the characters so well creating an aristocratic air and tension of classes that the reader cou Madame de Treymes is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. Edith Wharton captured the art and soul of the characters so well creating an aristocratic air and tension of classes that the reader could also feel. Wharton carries the reader into the world of the past, her life, and into the world of the strict and stifling class system of France of that time and the consequences that follow when trying to leave or change a society such as this.
Sep 12, Dayla rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature , sacred-beliefs , the-law , fiction. Reading is absolutely fun when the reader is in the hands of a master--and Ms. Wharton is just that. So much is said about both the English and the French culture in this book, that it would not have been understandable enough had I not had such a familiarity with the French culture. Spot on for the French culture and their norms of behavior.
Or as another reviewer, Bennett stated: "Another of Wharton's brilliant literary profiles crafted from telling details into a short but satisfying read. As Reading is absolutely fun when the reader is in the hands of a master--and Ms. As noted by Susan Alsop in the introduction to my edition: "Not since Balzac had a novelist put the world in which he lived so mercilessly under the microscope. Sep 15, Katy rated it really liked it. The Age of Innocence won the Pulitzer Prize for literature,  making Wharton the first woman to win the award. The three fiction judges—literary critic Stuart Pratt Sherman , literature professor Robert Morss Lovett , and novelist Hamlin Garland —voted to give the prize to Sinclair Lewis for his satire Main Street , but Columbia University's advisory board, led by conservative university president Nicholas Murray Butler , overturned their decision and awarded the prize to The Age of Innocence.
Particularly notable was her meeting with F. Scott Fitzgerald , described by the editors of her letters as "one of the better known failed encounters in the American literary annals". She spoke fluent French, Italian, and German, and many of her books were published in both French and English. In Wharton's autobiography A Backward Glance was published. In the view of Judith E. What is most notable about A Backward Glance, however, is what it does not tell: her criticism of Lucretia Jones [her mother], her difficulties with Teddy, and her affair with Morton Fullerton, which did not come to light until her papers, deposited in Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Room and Manuscript Library , were opened in On June 1, Wharton was at the French country home of Ogden Codman , where she was at work on a revised edition of The Decoration of Houses, when she suffered a heart attack and collapsed.
At her bedside was her friend, Mrs. Royall Tyler.
Despite not publishing her first novel until she was forty, Wharton became an extraordinarily productive writer. In addition to her fifteen novels, seven novellas, and eighty-five short stories, she published poetry, books on design, travel, literary and cultural criticism, and a memoir.
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In , Wharton wrote a short story and gave it to her mother to read. Her mother criticized the story, so Wharton decided to just write poetry. While she constantly sought her mother's approval and love, it was rare that she received either. From the start, the relationship with her mother was a troubled one. In her youth, she wrote about society. Her central themes came from her experiences with her parents. She was very critical of her own work and would write public reviews criticizing it. She also wrote about her own experiences with life.
In , she sent out three poems for publication. Edward L.
Edith Wharton, author of "Ethan Frome" and "The Age of Innocence"
It was not until Wharton was 29 that her first short story was published. Manstey's View" had very little success, and it took her more than a year to publish another story. Burlingame was critical of this story but Wharton did not want to make edits to it. This story, along with many others, speaks about her marriage. She sent Bunner Sisters to Scribner's in Burlingame wrote back that it was too long for Scribner's to publish. This story is believed to be based on an experience she had as a child. It did not see publication until and is included in the collection called Xingu.
After "Something Exquisite" was rejected by Burlingame, she lost confidence in herself. She started " travel writing " in In , Wharton wrote a two-act play called Man of Genius. This play was about an English man who was having an affair with his secretary. The play was rehearsed, but was never produced. She collaborated with Marie Tempest to write another play, but the two only completed four acts before Marie decided she was no longer interested in costume plays. The Joy of Living was criticized for its name because the heroine swallows poison at the end, and was a short-lived Broadway production.
It was, however, a successful book. Many of Wharton's novels are characterized by a subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in upper-class, late-nineteenth-century society, Wharton became one of its most astute critics, in such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. Versions of her mother, Lucretia Jones often appeared in Wharton's fiction. Biographer Hermione Lee described it as "one of the most lethal acts of revenge ever taken by a writing daughter. Edith Wharton conceived of houses, dwelling places, in an extended imagery of shelter and dispossession.
Houses — their confinement and their theatrical possibilities…they are never mere settings . American children's stories containing slang were forbidden in Wharton's childhood home. Source: Campbell, Donna M. Washington State University. Retrieved 22 January Source: Marshall, Scott Edith Wharton Review : 21— From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Edith Wharton. False Dawn; 2. The Old Maid; 3.
The Spark; 4. The Mount: Edith Wharton's Home. US : National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 23 Dec New York, St. Martin's Griffin. Edith Wharton: A Biography 1st ed. Edith Wharton: A Biography. A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton. Oxford University Press. New York: Harry N. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley. New York: Harry n. New York: Alfred A. New York: St. American Literature.
The Almanac of American Letters. Library of America, 28 June Retrieved 14 September The New York Times, 13 Aug. New York Public Library, 6 May Epiphany: Journal of transdisciplinary studies. Library of America. Retrieved 14 September — via National Library of Australia. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. Retrieved 14 September — via The Open Library. Benstock, Shari New York: Penguin. Davis, Mary Virginia Magills Survey of American Literature.
Salem Press. Dwight, Eleanor Edith Wharton: an extraordinary life.