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07 April 2011 @ 11:13 pm
Life with Edith Wharton  

Bonjour everyone!

To go along with our book of the month, I wanted to do a little post about Edith Wharton's life. I'm always nosy about author's lives and how they come to write what they do, but Edith seems to have had a particularly badass life and I wanted to share!






She was born Edith Newbold Jones. Wharton is her husband's name, whom she married in 1885.
The little bio at the back of my novel tells me that their marriage was an unhappy one and that "she was advised by her doctor to write fiction to relieve her nervous tension." It seems unusual to me that a woman would have been encouraged to write at all, especially in the case of any kind of 'nervous' problem (I'm thinking of The Yellow Wallpaper), but perhaps we have this doctor to thank for encouraging so much great writing.

Apparently Edith wrote as a girl and had completed a novel called 'Fast and Loose' (unpublished) and even wrote mock reviews criticizing it (how Jane Austen of her!), but her family tried to stifle her writings because obviously no man would want to marry an intellectual woman. Her family forced her to make her ~societal debut~ a year early to get her on the marriage market as quickly as possible.

The Wharton's marriage didn't last. Edith moved to France permanently in 1908 and finally obtained a divorce in 1913, though she kept her husband's name.

Fabulous Facts about Edith:

{+} 'The House of Mirth' was a bestseller in 1905.
{+} She was legit BFFs with Henry James and her novel 'The Reef' is said to be written in a Jamesian tone (I haven't read it so I don't know)
{+} Sinclair Lewis dedicated one of his books to her.
{+} She had an affair with a journalist from The Times named Morton Fullerton, but the relationship didn't last.
{+} She received the Legion d'Honneur from the French government for her philanthropic efforts during WWI.
{+} 'The Age of Innocence' was published in 1920 and it won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, the first woman to win it.
{+} After moving to France, she returned to the US only once: to receive an honorary doctorate from Yale, again the first woman to receive this honor.
{+} There is now a street in Provence named rue Edith Wharton.

*facts taken from her wikipedia page (LOL, I know), the Edith Wharton Society and the author bios in my own copies of her novels*

That's it! I just wanted to share a bit. I am by no means an Edith expert, if you have any ~fabulous Edith facts~ of your own, please do share! Apparently there's an excellent recent biography of her by Hermione Lee, but it's longer than a Harry Potter book and I'm not sure I can read a bio that long, not even one of the great Lady Edith.

Hope everyone's enjoying Age of Innocence!
 
 
 
Nichothodes Koryfoides: OMG | bb mkaplacebetween on April 8th, 2011 03:46 am (UTC)
I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY THAT THIS IS EDITH WHARTON'S COUNTRY ESTATE, WHICH SHE DESIGNED HERSELF:



GIVE ME THAT AND A PULITZER, AND I WILL BE HAPPY FOR THE REMAINDER OF MY DAYS.
La femme cachéela_faerie on April 8th, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
RIGHT? Like her writing isn't enough of an achievement. Edith decided no, I must also design my own house and gardens! AND IT SHALL BE MAGNIFICENT. And then it was. Because she said so.
Nichothodes Koryfoides: stock | roadplacebetween on April 8th, 2011 03:57 am (UTC)
Gardens always trip me out. Every time I go to a garden or an estate in Europe, I have to remind myself that all of the ACRES of garden belonged to ONE PERSON, instead of the 500 people who bought tickets that day. I wish people still spent their money on creating vast private estates just so it's not weird when I do.
Briebriebellamy on April 8th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
What? really? OMG THAT'S BEAUTIFUL
Princess Rinoamint, Esq.rinoamint on April 8th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
The Wharton's marriage didn't last. Edith moved to France permanently in 1908 and finally obtained a divorce in 1913, though she kept her husband's name.



WHAT A BADASS
La femme cachéela_faerie on April 8th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
I know, girlfriend was living it up in Paris, frequenting literary salons and carrying on secret affairs. Oh yeah, and writing her PULITZER WINNING NOVEL.
Briebriebellamy on April 8th, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)
This is really cool! I often don't know much about the author's life for some reason. I'm not too far into The Age of Innocence but I was impressed by the level of detail that she put into it. Obviously some of it must have been from life experience.
La femme cachéela_faerie on April 8th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you thought it was cool! Yes, you can tell Edith knows of what she speaks. I mean, with all the traveling she did, she must've seen a hell of a lot.
dillpickle: i want to go to therepoppypickle on April 8th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)
I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing all of this info that you found about Lady Edith. What a HBIC. I want to be her when I grow up.
La femme cachéela_faerie on April 8th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you thought it was useful!

I want to be her when I grow up.

Right? I wish there was a class: Becoming a HBIC like Edith Wharton. I'd take tons of notes.
dillpicklepoppypickle on April 8th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
There are college classes about Lost and Harry Potter and lots of other nonsense that I love. Surely there must be a Edith Wharton Is an HBIC and You Can Be One Too class!