Sunday, 6 March 2011

Wharton, Edith "The House of Mirth"

Wharton, Edith "The House of Mirth" - 1905

House of Mirth' is centered on Lily Bart, a New York socialite who attempts to secure a husband and a place in affluent society. It was one of the first novels of manners to emerge in American literature and one of the first to openly explore the ways Victorian society offered few other options for women in terms of social mobility.
The title is taken 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 love classics, so it probably doesn't come as a surprise that I liked this book. This is yet another story that gives us an insight in the struggle of women in the past, this was a century ago, when it was still not possible for women to have a career of their own and getting married to the right man was all you could do to step up in society and life and a step in the wrong direction could be the complete ruin. I don't want to tell you too much but if these novels are realistic, they don't have a happy end.

The author grew up in the upper-class and became a great critic of that type of lifestyle. She portrays this brilliantly in this novel.

We discussed this in our book club in March 2004.

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