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Look at this beautiful book that has arrived in the post for me ! ❤️ I wonder who sent this ? & I Thankyou very much ! .. I love it 😍

batsy Oooh 😍 1w
Cathythoughts @batsy Oooh indeed ! Isn‘t it a beauty 1w
batsy @Cathythoughts Yes! And I read it awhile back but it's a great book ❤️ 1w
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Cathythoughts @batsy oh good & im reading her books now with the #WhartonBuddyRead so it‘s all the more welcome 🙏 1w
TrishB There‘s a mystery book person out there! 1w
Cathythoughts @TrishB 😂 there must be a little fairy on Litsy 😍 1w
LeahBergen That‘s lovely! 😍 1w
Centique Oh that‘s from me Cathy! I was going to send you a NZ book and then found it was out of print, so I saw you were doing the Wharton Buddy Read and thought that would be a good alternative! 💕💕 5d
Cathythoughts @Centique Thanks Paula ! It‘s a beautiful copy & so thoughtful of you. I am indeed doing the Wharton Buddy Read .. and I‘m really enjoying it. Your gift is perfect 💫❤️Thankyou X 4d
Cathythoughts @Centique I love the cover ❤️ 4d
Centique @Cathythoughts im so glad! 4d
57 likes11 comments
Madame de Treymes | Edith Wharton
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@jewright @Louise @Sace @Suet624 @arubabookwoman @Currey @catebutler @Catherine_Willoughby @crazeedi @mdm139 @emilyhaldi @rubyslippersreads @KathyWheeler @llwheeler @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @BookishTrish
Consensus was to start our next Wharton in January. It‘s a short one, but I propose splitting it into two discussions. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving/Thursday and have one of these lovely covers to look forward to. #whartonbuddyread

llwheeler Sounds good! 2w
Graywacke Nice collection of covers. Will be ready for Jan 8. 2w
Cathythoughts Great 👏🏻looking forward to it 2w
Louise Thanks for organizing the dates and discussion. I just got the large print edition for easy reading. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! 2w
CarolynM I've still got a few chapters of House of Mirth to read, but I plan to keep up with the next one 🙂 Thanks for organising. 1w
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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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I thoroughly enjoyed this classic - which was new to me. It‘s a terrific novel. Apparently the first novel to really cut into the culture of the New York leisure class, through the life of Lily Bart, it was a instant success, a big seller and put Wharton securely on the map. It made for great reading for the #whartonbuddyread

Cathythoughts Such a good book ❤️💔 2w
batsy It's a brilliant book! 2w
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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton

#fourfoursin21 artificial @Lauredhel

Finished this last week, only getting around to posting now. Another one done for #whartonbuddyread and I enjoyed it. I could've gone into essay mode easily on this one, if I'd had to read it in school, lots to unpack. Wasn't expecting to be able to use it for #fourfoursin21 but the artificiality of high society turned out to be a major theme so I'm slotting it in there.

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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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I so enjoyed my reread … and I didn‘t remember the characters so clearly as I thought. A different reading for me .. Thankyou for your insights #WhartonBuddyRead @Graywacke @Lcsmcat , and all.. look forward to more comments & reviews & more Edith Wharton with you all ❤️💔

merelybookish I loved Wharton when I read her but it's been years... 3w
Cathythoughts @merelybookish She is so good ❤️ 2w
60 likes2 comments
The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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House of Mirth - to the end of the book.

Lily continues her economic downward spiral, from secondary socialite to laid off milliner. When she is at her lowest there are hands reaching out, offering help. But she was unable to bring herself to accept it. It‘s a curious aspect of the book. Why not?

But, also we have finished a special novel and a classic. Share your overall thoughts.

(Early post as I‘m traveling tomorrow.)

CarolynM Bother!! I got busy this week, barely read anything and completely forgot about this😩 I'll look forward to reading everyone's comments once I finish the book. 3w
Graywacke @CarolynM well, i am early. ☺️ But, look forward to your thoughts whenever you finish. 3w
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mdm139 Overall, I liked the story. The anti-Semitic aspect did bother me to the point of wanting to put it down. I was hoping for a happy ending. I thought maybe she had. Her low point on the bench where Nettie found her. And then she would pay of Trenor and marry Seldon. But Wharton killed her off! Wanted to just toss the book up into the air at that point. But I can see why it was popular at the time and it is better written than her other books. 3w
Cathythoughts @mdm139 I hear you ! What an ending , so upsetting. @Graywacke I really enjoyed this reread & had forgotten a lot of the story ( except the end ) .. Beautiful writing , I was very struck with the baby in Lily‘s last dreamy moments , of the purity of the baby & of Lily‘s goodness & how wounded she had become in her life. I loved this book 💔 3w
Cathythoughts @Graywacke I don‘t know why she couldn‘t accept help , she‘s worn out , feels herself beyond help.. sadly she was heading only in one direction. Tragedy. (edited) 3w
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts I was thinking that every time she tried to ask fo help in the past there were strings attached, often ones she didn‘t realize until later. And she always ended up worse off than before. Maybe she was too exhausted to play the mental chess to figure out what the end result of accepting help would be. 3w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I agree that Wharton‘s writing is maturing in this one. I won‘t say that it‘s her best book (we‘ve got a lot to go!) but it shows marked improvement over Valley of Decision. 3w
Lcsmcat The saddest part for me was not Lily‘s death, but that she never really learned how to be happy. She would catch glimpses of it, but never managed to figure it out. Was her “fatal flaw” that she was always comparing herself to others? That she had no interior life? That she had never learned to be anything other than ornamental? Or a combination of all this. 3w
Currey @Lcsmcat Agreed, but she did accept help from Gerty and Carry. It was the big offer from Rosedale that she had to assume came with strings. Was she too proud to ask Selden for help? In her own way, I think she thought she did ask Selden for help ( be that person I need you to be). 3w
Currey @mdm139 @Lcsmcat Wharton has come a long way from Valley. What I found remarkable is how she took some of the same indecision/fate themes and transposed them to an environment she knew well. 3w
Currey @Lcsmcat Hmmm, no interior life… yes, she thought happiness was the luxury of a warm quilted bed and really that is the rare moment when she does seem happy. I will think about this 3w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat This line stayed with me “She wanted to get away from herself, and conversation was the only means of escape that she knew.” ( page 15 in my edition) 3w
Graywacke I agree Lily was always tragic. A self-destructive contradiction, always fighting herself into not making the helpful decision. (She was never willing to confront the cost.) And a master of the moment, she was always willing avoid the larger picture - but that larger picture was always so hard to face. 3w
Graywacke @Currey @mdm139 @Lcsmcat So far from Valley! 😂 But sharp catch, I can see she does repackaged many of those same themes. (The last section of her last consciousness felt to me very much like the author of Valley - I should add, in a good way.) 3w
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat I keep thinking her rejection of help is a key point here, more meaningful than it seems. Partially help comes with a cost, which she learned bitterly. But - it seemed she couldn‘t break her social structure and codes (even everyone else did). And yet, she maybe didn‘t want what she was supposed want by code - a rich yucky husband. If she gets her inheritance…does she marry? 👇 3w
Graywacke More than the code, there seemed to be an independent streak in Lily. She wanted the freedom the men had, and the women didn‘t. A part of her wanted to be in control and to actually be in the boardrooms with Rosedale and Trenor, but making her own investments, independent of anyone‘s support. She couldn‘t. 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Cathythoughts I think I sensed the ending early on - a dark Pride and Prejudice - I did not expect her death, but a dark road ahead. But it‘s still sad to confront. If Selden could just have been a little more assertive … well, a lot more. @Cathythoughts so glad you enjoyed. Easily one of the most rewarding books i‘ve read in a while. I adored this. 3w
Graywacke @mdm139 on the antisemitic side - it‘s curious how much I liked Rosedale on closing the book. No angel, but he never turns away, and sincerely wanted to help her just because he felt bad for her. So, I personally feel more forgiving now. Perhaps he becomes an emblem of the times - nuveau riche Jew confronting antisemitism of the rich, but still just plainly human inside. 3w
Currey @mdm139 I also was impressed by Wharton‘s handling of Rosedale. She never relieved him of his “social climbing Jew” label, no doubt reflecting social conventions of the time, but made him human and likable in the end. More likable than Selden actually because he understood what Lily was going through in a way that Selden tied up with all sorts of pride and rules of class/gender/society took too long to break away from 3w
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat Excellent point about the ‘ strings attached‘ … her trust was gone ! You understood her 👍🏻💔❤️ 3w
arubabookwoman I have been reading along, but unable to post due to some RL issues. And now I am a week behind. I will try to finish by early next week, read the posts here and possibly comment. I will say I read this probably 30-35 yrs ago, and loved it, and I have loved what I've read of it so far this time. 3w
llwheeler I admit I wasn't expecting that ending! I keep coming back to the image of her as the hothouse flower. Carefully pruned and cultivated for one particular function in one particular environment... 3w
Lcsmcat @llwheeler And then the environment was taken from her, and she couldn‘t survive. 💔 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey She did seem able to accept small help, but not the big life-changing type. And I think it was because she couldn‘t imagine a different life as being a happy one (until the end, with Nettie). And by then it was too late. 3w
Lcsmcat Did it strike anyone else that she was left $10,000 in turn of the century dollars, and believed that was being left in poverty. And her “set” called that being disinherited. It‘s more money than my mother made in 1964 as a teacher, and she raised 3 kids on it. So Lily‘s ideas were twisted by her mother‘s fear of “dinginess” and her being surrounded by the super rich. 3w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I marked that escape by conversation quote too. Lily seemed pursued through the whole book by fear of true introspection. 3w
Lcsmcat @Currey @Graywacke @mdm139 I came to feel differently about Wharton‘s portrayal of Rosedale by the end, too. I feel like Wharton showed us his humanity in glimpses of him with children, in his trying to help Lily, etc. And I think he truly loved her, not just for what she could do for him. But like all that class, he was thwarted by his desire to penetrate the upper echelons. 3w
Graywacke @arubabookwoman wish you well and look forward to your comments. 2w
Graywacke @llwheeler i like that image. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I haven‘t been able to context what $10,000 was then. I just looked up a calculator: “$10,000 in 1905 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $314,305.68 today, an increase of $304,305.68 over 116 years.” Wow. 2w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat of course she was supposed to inherit $400,000 which is roughly $12.5 million today. 2w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke It was way less than she thought she was getting, but hardly poverty. If someone gave me $314k in a lump sum, I don‘t think I would feel impoverished. (I‘m willing to make the experiment 😂) 2w
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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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House of Mirth : Book 2 ch 1-8

Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. Poor Lily. Bertha Dorset betrays her, she is disinherited, dependent on Carey Fisher‘s plans and Gerty Farish‘s compassion. Even Rosedale has rejected her. What do you make of Lily and this world and her response? (And who is Norma Hartch? No spoilers please.)

Graywacke “It was before him again in its completeness — the choice in which she was content to rest: in the stupid costliness of the food and the showy dullness of the talk, in the freedom of speech which never arrived at wit and the freedom of act which never made for romance. The strident setting of the restaurant..,emphasized the ideals of a world in which conspicuousness passed for distinction, and the society column had become the roll of fame.” 4w
Lcsmcat “what she craved, and really felt herself entitled to, was a situation in which the noblest attitude should also be the easiest.” Kind of sums up Lily. She wants to see herself as good and different, but not put in any effort or have any personal unpleasantness. 4w
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Lcsmcat And yet she doesn‘t use the letters when Bertha betrays her. Is that because she knows it‘s despicable, or because they‘re to Seldon? 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yeah, good question. Did Rosedale get it right? (This is really high stakes stuff. No one is likely to succeed cleanly. I‘m not sure Lily gets that.) 4w
Currey @Lcsmcat I have to admit that I appreciated the honesty of Rosedale. He knew what he needed and how to get it even if it seemed a game to him. To Lily, it was her life. 4w
mdm139 “And sometimes I think it‘s because, at heart, she despises the things she is trying for.” We were suspecting Lily didn‘t really want to get married last week. 4w
Currey @Graywacke @Lcsmcat I was working on the assumption that she did not use Bertha‘s letters because it was despicable but now you have me thinking….is Lily simply not wily to know how to use them? (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @Currey It really shows the difference in their (R & L) power and autonomy, doesn‘t it. Lily could not be direct and get what she wants, because the life she sought didn‘t allow for unmarried women to be direct. Also, males were much more upwardly mobile than women! (edited) 4w
Currey “”she works like a slave preparing the ground and sowing her seeds, but the day she ought to be reaping the harvest, she oversleeps herself or goes off on a picnic.” (Carie Fisher about Lily) 4w
Currey I liked this one about Gerty‘s friendship with Lily: “Having once helped Lily, she must continue to help her; and helping her, must believe in her, because faith is the main-spring of such nature‘s”. 4w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 Right. And maybe doesn‘t want to be like these people, but has been so indoctrinated by her mother that she can‘t see any other way. 4w
Lcsmcat I think Lily is so conflicted. And Gerty, stable, faithful, disciplined to be kind and helpful Gert, serves as a foil to show us how scattered Lily is. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat direct - yes, she doesn‘t. Oddly Carrie Fisher does do direct. And Rosedale does too. He basically tells Lily he wants her because she is of her value, and later he doesn‘t because she doesn‘t have that value. Definitely direct. There was a comment about his kindness that struck me - when with Carrie‘s daughter. Something about kind within his ambitious way. (edited) 4w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke Carrie does direct because as a multiple divorcée she‘s already weathered the storm and come out ok. Lily doesn‘t have that option unless she were willing to risk being permanently cast out. I think R is kind, but also laser focused on getting where he wants to go. 4w
Graywacke In the @Therewillbebooks podcast they bring up how Wharton later openly explained Lily. That Wharton wanted to show how that world would destroy what‘s beautiful. 4w
Graywacke Also in that podcast they note that this book was an immediate hit. This is what set Wharton in the literary pedestal and immediately. I find that interesting because of what it seems to say about her readers. There is an exposé aspect to the book. 4w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat yup good points. It‘s interesting Carrie opens up to Lily only as she is about to fall. Selden saw the tension. Carrie saw the fall. Maybe. Anyway she never would have talked this way to Lily in book 1. 4w
Graywacke Any thoughts on Selden in this section? 4w
Graywacke @Currey on the letters - I think Lily is not willing to go low. She seems to have the kind of principles that won‘t let her actually hurt anyone (worth noting that this “anyone” doesn‘t include the servants) 4w
Graywacke @mdm139 @Currey these two quotes are terrific. They tell us a lot about who Lily is. 4w
mdm139 “If he clung to her, it was not in order to be dragged up, but to feel someone floundering in the depths with him: he wanted her to suffer with him, not to help him suffer less.” I hate when people do this in real life and I sense some foreshadowing here. 4w
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I can see the shadenfreude her readers could have experienced! Kind of like people who love celebrity scandals. I wonder if those of her day would have recognized any individuals? 4w
Therewillbebooks I think a character like Lily was Wharton's way of satirizing the frivolity of this world. Lily isn't quite ready/willing to do what it would take to remain in it, but she knows no other way of life. 3w
mdm139 I am glad Lily didn‘t use the letters. She may not have used them because she didn‘t want to hurt Seldon. Or maybe because she didn‘t want to lower herself to Bertha‘s level. Either way it showed she has some decency. 3w
Cathythoughts “ that Wharton wanted to show how that the world would destroy what‘s beautiful “ great point. !! I feel Lily is sinking … and again I‘m struck with how ultimately alone she is .. there is a homelessness about her .. In reality & in her spirit. Her aunts will !!! I was so shocked & sad for her when I heard the will (edited) 3w
Graywacke @Therewillbebooks thanks. I was thinking it‘s a high stakes game. This is big money. The players, the women, have no other income but marriage and inheritance, and the alternative is poverty (well, not necessarily, but…it‘s a distinct possibility. Of course, they can marry down a notch or several.) So it‘s cut-throat covered with smiles. The presentation is frivolous, but I don‘t the world itself was. Not sure Lily sees the true ugly underside. 3w
Graywacke @mdm139 She is really admirable in that way, with the letters. What would you have done? 🙂 3w
Graywacke @Cathythoughts her state is so sad. (I keep wondering who she is if she gets that inheritance. ) 3w
BarbaraBB Loved this one 3w
CarolynM I've been away from home and I'm a bit behind. I'll catch up in time for next week. Still enjoying it🙂 3w
Louise Please keep me on the group list. I hope to catch up once things settle down a bit here. 3w
Graywacke @BarbaraBB it‘s really a terrific novel. 3w
Graywacke @CarolynM no worries. I have my issues coming up. I‘m traveling next weekend. Not sure yet how to manage our finishing this book. 3w
Graywacke @Louise definitely. And wish you well. 3w
Lcsmcat As we think about finishing this one, what is the group‘s feeling about when to start Madame de Treymes? I think it‘s a 2 week book. Short but not a novella. Do you want to wait til January after the holidays, or take two weeks in December? 3w
Currey @Lcsmcat I would appreciate waiting until January but a short book could also be squeezed in there if people are eager. 3w
Graywacke @Lcsmcat you get points for thinking ahead. I‘m ok with December as long as we avoid the holiday weekends. 3w
mdm139 I don‘t really care, but waiting for January may work better. There are lots of readathons in December and winter games and people are trying to finish any year long reading challenges and goodreads goals. 3w
Cathythoughts In terms of next book , I‘m easy & I‘ll go with the flow. Madame de Treymes .. exciting, I‘ve never heard of it .. I‘ll order today. Is there a list of the books we are reading in order ? I can look back over the posts & see. 3w
mdm139 @Cathythoughts if you got to The Mount‘s (her home is now a museum) webpage there is a link to her published works. We are reading that list in order. The novels/novella section. The list is in publication order. 3w
Cathythoughts @mdm139 @Graywacke Thanks so much !! Got it … I can order in advance, if I‘m going to read all her work it would be nice to have the books 💫 3w
Lcsmcat @mdm139 @Graywacke Thanks for jumping in with the list for @Cathythoughts . For those who prefer ebooks many of hers are out of copyright (at least in the US, check your local laws) and are available free from Project Gutenberg. https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/?query=Edith+Wharton+&submit_search=Sear... 3w
llwheeler For the timing of the next book, I'm ok either way. 3w
36 likes46 comments
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I‘ve learned a bit more about Wharton, thanks to her home The Mount‘s virtual ghost tours the last two years…I had not realized she wrote ghost stories until taking part in the tour!

This collection has some spooky (to me) storylines and some not too spooky but definitely bizarre. I enjoyed this collection as a fascinating look at early 20th century ghost stories, from an author who has greater acclaim with her stories about opulence and greed.

mdm139 Did you know there is a #whartonbuddyread group? Come join us if you want. We are reading her novels/novellas in publication order based on the list on The Mounts webpage. We are on The House of Mirth. 1mo
Librarybelle @mdm139 I have seen postings about the group - thanks! I will have to keep this in mind…lots of books to catch up on, but I would really like to read more by Wharton. I‘ve only read The Age of Innocence before this ghost story collection. 1mo
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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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(From Reynolds Mrs. Lloyd)

The House of Mirth : Book 1 ch 9-15

A masterful presentation and some dramatic fallout.

We‘re about half way. How are you enjoying? Thoughts on this section, or this world and all its crazy social pressures and hierarchies.

Graywacke Brief hopefully helpful summary: Lily returns to her aunt‘s and is confronted by a servant with some letters. She puts on a show at Bry‘s, stunning everyone. Gerty loves it. Gus Trenor goes all creepy. Selden is amazed, then hurt and runs off. And Lily is all over the place and desperate to pay Gus off. 1mo
Graywacke I noticed the book page has a podcast just released two days ago on our book. I haven‘t listened yet and don‘t know anything about the presenters, but if it interests, check it out. https://anchor.fm/peter-murphy8/episodes/Episode-72-The-House-of-Mirth-e19kolf 1mo
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Graywacke Some quotes: “To a torn heart uncomforted by human nearness a room may open almost human arms, and the being to whom no four walls mean more than any other is, at such hours, expatriate everywhere.” 1mo
Graywacke “She might have married more than once — the conventional rich marriage which she had been taught to consider the sole end of experience — but when the opportunity came she had always shrunk from it. “ - the sole end of experience… !! 1mo
Currey I have to admit I am loving the book even with all the horrid social conventions for women of the time. Gerty‘s introduction has provided a nice balance to Lily although she too dreams of marriage. She at least has a higher aim in life also. Wharton has been brilliant at making Lily‘s plight feel as if it is not the result of Lily‘s own decisions and yet clearly her indecision is at the center of everything. (edited) 1mo
Lcsmcat Crazy busy morning, but I will chime in this afternoon. Thanks for sharing the painting! 1mo
mdm139 I was really hoping Lily would be more progressive, especially when Gerry got some more page time. Become a woman before her time and realize she doesn‘t need a man to save her. Lily is a bit naive - she really didn‘t think Gus would want something in exchange for paying her doubts? A bit disappointed in Seldon as well - running off so quick and assuming the worse in her and not giving her a chance to explain. 1mo
mdm139 The painting you picked for the post is on the cover of my copy. 1mo
mdm139 “She was realizing for the first time that a woman‘s dignity may cost more to keep up than her carriage, and that the maintenance of a moral attribute should be dependent on dollars and cents, made the world appear a more sordid place than she had conceived it. “ 1mo
mdm139 I am also wondering if we will see the letters from Mrs. Dorset to Seldon any more. If they have a bigger rule to play. 1mo
Currey @mdm139 I was wondering the same. I suspect that once again Lily may have made the “wrong” decision there by even acknowledging that she knew they existed. 1mo
Graywacke @Currey I‘m loving it too. It‘s so much better than most I‘ve been reading the last several months. I found the look into Gerty fascinating. And I agree Wharton blurs cause and effect. I think Lily is responsible for her actions and also a victim of this crazy world she is not responsible for creating. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat I had a crazy morning too. 😐 I‘m family uber lately. Just not getting a break. 1mo
Graywacke @mdm139 so much in that quote. And glad you now know where your cover comes from. 🙂 (or…at least I now know why that picture comes up every time I Google-search this novel). Lily definitely is not progressive. I think on a conscious level she isn‘t interested in criticizing this world. It‘s more her unconscious that undermines her. I‘m not sure she was naive exactly with Gus. Maybe. But 👇 (edited) 1mo
Graywacke he really only offered her a business tip - same as Rosedale gave him. The costs is different for her. But I think she imagined him decent and not expecting that kind of return… on the surface he is decent. 1mo
Graywacke @mdm139 @Currey very nosy and curious what‘s in those letters. I was also fascinated at the servant/guest relationship. Whoa. Bitter hierarchy there. Lily is so easily cruel. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I wondered if Gus Trenor actually invested Lily‘s money, or if he gave her money under that guise. A “polite fiction” if you will, since he felt entitled to “perks”, and she felt she must pay him back. 1mo
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I highlighted the quote about a woman‘s dignity too. 1mo
Lcsmcat “It was horrible of a young girl to let herself be talked about; however unfounded the charges against her, she must be to blame for their having been made.” This one is still true to a degree today. 1mo
Lcsmcat Gerty was the saving grace of this section. Gus and Rosendale gave me the creeps, both expecting things from Lily just because they have money and they want her. They‘re so used to having everything their way that Gus tantrums and R thinks if he just waits a bit he can have her. Seldon isn‘t much better, attributing Lily‘s looks to himself and then running off at the first hint that she isn‘t on the pedestal where he placed her. (edited) 1mo
Lcsmcat But I don‘t blame Lily. All her upbringing was aimed at running with the fast set. And her Aunt hasn‘t done anything to show her a better way to live. She reminds me of a character in a Greek tragedy with a fatal flaw she can‘t avoid. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat had the same question about Gus‘s investment. Completely agree about Selden - dramatic but silly response - and yes, he built her up on a pedestal. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat i was thinking, if i had grown up with Judi Peniston - the anxiety would be suffocating. So much extreme judgment 1mo
Graywacke So I listened to the There Will Be Books podcasts. It‘s quirky, very much male, and not to everyone‘s taste. I enjoyed it. The best thing I got out of it is the point that Lily really doesn‘t want to married to anyone. Period. She wants to be free and independent, and also live this wealthy lifestyle. She just can‘t find the money. Her smoking and gambling can be seen as aspects of her independence, or desire for independence. (edited) 1mo
CarolynM I was starting to think this about Lily too. Still enjoying the story🙂 1mo
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I love your Greek tragedy idea about Lily.. and @Graywacke so interesting to read your points about Lily‘s gambling ( a frightening addiction) I‘m on Chapter 12 .. a bit behind , but I‘ll be caught up by next weekend…. I‘m really enjoying the book 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke That‘s a great way to look at Lily‘s life. I don‘t see the gambling is so much a reflection of that (it was epidemic for women and men in that social class as far back as Georgianna, Duchess of Devonshire) but the fact that she was so beautiful and yet unmarried at 29 does. She alludes vaguely to early offers of marriage and we saw what happened with Gryce. 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts glad you‘re enjoying. What do you think of Lily? 1mo
Cathythoughts @Graywacke I love Lily! Underneath her mask , I see her as lost & vulnerable. Trapped in a life & wanting to be free. I see her as very solitary , directionless., rudderless. I worry about her. (edited) 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts There is something especially appealing about her. I‘ve been thinking about that and her flaws and what that says about her. She seems extremely vulnerable, and maybe that is part of her appeal. As for that mask, I think she feels like she should like it, and hasn‘t considered that she may not. 1mo
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The House of Mirth | Edith Wharton
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The House of Mirth : Book 1 ch 1-8

A catastrophic opening 8 chapters? Wondering what we all make of Lily Bart and her world of characters, the dark undercurrent of financial distress and its compromises? And of what we make of Wharton‘s construction? The reader‘s questionable sense of seeing a big picture even as we are always in the moment - in Lily‘s thoughts, and briefly in Selden‘s. Are you enjoying?

Lcsmcat Random thoughts: Sometimes I feel like Lily doesn‘t stand a chance, given her upbringing. But I love her anyway. And Seldon? He‘s more self-aware than Lily, but does it make him happier? I‘m glad Lily won‘t be marrying Gryce. And I‘m not thrilled with Wharton‘s antisemitism either, but we‘ve seen a lot of that in literature of this era, haven‘t we? 1mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m running behind, but will catch up on comments when I can. 1mo
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Currey @Graywacke So glad we read Valley of Decision, as there are so many parallels with Lily born to a higher economic class and destined, as least according to her mother‘s wishes, to grasp the heights due to her beauty. Also Lily believes that she can and should use her wealth (which is yet to be attained and would actually be someone else‘s wealth), to “do good” although even she doesn‘t know what that means. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat the antisemitism - oye. Of course I can‘t help but sympathizing with Rosedale, and cursing all the antisemitic bastards. It‘s the flip side of The Rise of David Levinsky. 1mo
Graywacke Some quotes I wrote down - but they is not that representative. This is a really rich text. Anyway- a favorite: “She wanted to get away from herself, and conversation was the only means of escape that she knew.” 1mo
mdm139 “The afternoon was perfect. A deeper stillness possessed the air, and the glitter of the American autumn was tempered by a haze which diffused the brightness without dulling it.” I am enjoying Wharton‘s writing better in this one. I keep forgetting it is set in America as well. I am getting Austen vibes. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a poor woman is want of a rich husband. 1mo
mdm139 “Don‘t you ever mind not being rich enough to buy all the books you want?” 1mo
Graywacke On Gryce and Maria Van Osburgh: “the two had the same prejudices and ideals, and the same quality of making other standards non-existent by ignoring them. This attribute was common to most of Lily‘s set: they had a force of negation which eliminated everything beyond their own range of perception.” 1mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I agree with you that the antisemitism as personified by Rosedale is disturbing. I agree with you also that Wharton is setting us up for Lily‘s fall while making sure that we empathize with Lily‘s struggles. So far I am really enjoying the book as I had some trepidation about reading about “society” again. 1mo
mdm139 “One of the charms of tea is the fact of drinking it together…” 1mo
Graywacke Oops - delay. Back again. I always have to read this one twice to get it right. And i read a criticism within, subtle: “In the rosy glow it diffused her companions seemed full of amiable qualities.” 1mo
Graywacke Lily and Lawrence: ‘Freedom? Freedom from worries?‘
‘From everything — from money, from poverty, from ease and anxiety, from all the material accidents. To keep a kind of republic of the spirit — that‘s what I call success.‘
Lcsmcat @mdm139 I love the quotes you pulled. And I too had to remind myself we weren‘t in England! 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat @currey - I find Lily is so curious, and fatally hybrid. She wants to master her world and but actually also wants something completely different. And the two completely cancel each other out. She can only be master of the moment, but brilliantly so. Fortunately she‘s not reflective… and… 👇 1mo
Graywacke I suspect her non-reflective aspect is what makes this novel work. She sees everything and so thanks to her we do too. But she is only in the moment. So (1) As readers we can see both the moment and the bigger picture. (In a weird way (maybe) it allows us to be voyeur: we see everything while concealed by being part of the bigger picture she can‘t see.) And (2) It also allows her to careen towards whatever disaster the plot has coming. 1mo
Graywacke @Currey interesting comparison with VoD. I‘m glad we read her earlier works too because it gives me some insight in how Wharton works. (I have two things in mind: We know she‘s ruthless and won‘t hesitate to ruin Lily for literary impact. She has no mercy. And we also know that Lily‘s observation of the female compromise is Wharton‘s passion. She was fiercely feminist in a non-listening world.) 1mo
Graywacke @mdm139 @Lcsmcat definite Austen vibes. And I completely agree about enjoying the writing here more. I think this is somehow a much better writer. 1mo
Graywacke @mdm139 love that we were both posting quotes at the same time. Great quotes. 1mo
Graywacke Anyone else continually contrasting with Willa Cather? They‘re so different in perspective and purpose but they overlap here in NYC c1900 and I can‘t help feeling Cather read Wharton, and thought, “huh…” 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke She‘s a very different writer than Cather, but I do see some similarities. And she‘s coming into her own here. The introduction in my volume said that it was prior that Mirth that Henry James advised her to write about New York as she saw it. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat Do you think this is really as she saw it? I feel some caricature. (That‘s fascinating, by the way) 1mo
Lcsmcat @Graywacke I think there‘s still some caricature here. She‘s moving in the direction of realism though, and “writing what she knows” more than she did in in Valley. 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat definitely more than Valley! 🙂 1mo
Currey @Graywacke @mdm139 @Lcsmcat Great reflections on our being voyeurs in watching and seeing more than Lily herself can. I love that Wharton is presenting us with a feminist perspective while none of her characters can be true feminists in a world where marriage is almost the only door to any kind of safe haven from poverty. 1mo
Lcsmcat @Currey About the feminism, what about Seldon‘s cousin Gerty? Is she there to show us that, if you didn‘t aim to be “society” you had more options as a woman? Do you think we‘ll see more of her? 1mo
Currey @Lcsmcat I hope we meet her. Lily seemed to feel her life was not enviable but perhaps Gerty herself is a member of Seldon‘s republic and has some freedom? 1mo
CarolynM I am enjoying it very much, it has made me laugh out loud a few times. I agree with everything @Lcsmcat said in her first comment and, like @mdm139 I am enjoying the writing more than previously. The "society" thing is frustrating, not just in terms of money but the whole issue of what is acceptable behaviour depending on your status including (but not limited to) as a single or married woman. 1mo
Cathythoughts I am really enjoying this too … I love the writing & the descriptions of Lily & her clothes & laces & jewels are gorgeous. Yet this society is the “ gilded cage “ as she describes it .. and for all her cunning , I feel her vulnerability & her longing to be free … 1mo
Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I agree with all you say in your first comment too , and @CarolynM the society thing IS frustrating! I can feel the deep frustration in Lily … she‘s caught in a web (edited) 1mo
Cathythoughts QUOTE: “ Her intentions in short had never been more definite; but poor Lily for all the hard glaze of her exterior, was inwardly as malleable as wax. “ … “ She was like a water-plant in the flux of tides “ ….. Oh Lily ❤️ (edited) 1mo
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Great quotes! Perhaps that‘s another implication of her name. In addition to “gilding the lily” maybe we‘re supposed to think of her as a water lily, buffeted by the movements of the “water” she lives in. 1mo
Graywacke @Currey @Lcsmcat I found an article on Gerty yesterday (but it has significant spoilers, so maybe wait till later to read). The article claimed that after Lily and Selden, she is the most interesting character. https://zachoward.com/2015/11/09/gerty-farish-edith-whartons-stunning-portrait-o... 1mo
Graywacke @CarolynM glad you‘re enjoying! 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts great quotes and glad you‘re enjoying! 1mo
Graywacke @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat I hadn‘t considered her name in that light. A kind if lily, how fitting, in many ways - cut flowers for show, for example. Thanks for highlighting. (Any thoughts on “Bart”?) 1mo
Graywacke @CarolynM @Cathythoughts @Lcsmcat - interesting thoughts on society and the gilded cage. Nothing to add, but thinking about this strange heavily structured and kind of removed world. It doesn‘t seem so long ago… 1mo
Cathythoughts Oh I must have a look at that article you shared !! Thankyou, sounds interesting 1mo
Lcsmcat Thanks for sharing the article! Since this is a reread for me I‘m not going to wait. One comment about the title, it‘s from Ecclesiastes 7:4 “ The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” I can‘t help but wonder how someone who obviously knew the Old Testament, and therefore should have known that the Jewish people are “the apple of God‘s eye” could have been so anti Semitic. 1mo
llwheeler I'm behind already... I have started though and hope to catch up this week 1mo
Graywacke @Lcsmcat thanks for the reference. (For what it‘s worth, the antisemitism here is racial and social, not really religious. And I think that was the nature of how the old wealthy families viewed the successful Jewish entrepreneurs with their rags-to-riches immigrant stories and nouveau riche sensitivities.) 1mo
Graywacke @llwheeler no worries. Enjoy. Jump in whenever you finish this section. 1mo
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