Thursday, November 29, 2007

Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

"Selden paused in surprise. In the afternoon rush of the Grand Central Station, his eyes had been refreshed by the sight of Miss Lily Bart."
With these words Edith Wharton begins Lily and Selden’s tale of woe. Since 1905, the year of publication of The House of Mirth this tale has been the true depiction of the plight of the 19th century American women─women financially dependent and socially victimized

How things have changed in one hundred years! Betty Friedan's Feminine Mystique started it all with her clarion call to identify "the problem that had no name." The problem still has no name, but the solution does: Feminism!

Today no longer do we find Lily Barts, but strong professional women such as Helen McCain, CEO. Or, Laura Standish─socialite of rich pedigree─but ambitious investment banker with an MBA and a law degree. Or, take Dr. Ann Norris, with a Ph.D in microbiology. These women who populate Marciano Guerrero’s novel The Poison Pill, are women who command respect; women who fight for what they want, be that wealth, recognition, or ownership.

All this in fictionl. In reality, a woman--Hillary Clinton--could become the next president of the United States.

While Edith Wharton chronicled Lily Bart’s frailty and dependency, Guerrero portrays tough professional and sure-footed women who are players in the rough and cut-throat business sector.

This is the “Republic of the spirit” that Lawrence Selden--the weak hero--spoke to Lily Bart about; something unreal then, but a reality today. A republic in which the spirit of the entrepreneurial women would flourish and compete with men. Although the august halls of Congress still sound with the tread of men, in due time that will change, too. And in the Executive side: a woman for president!

Any post-modern woman owes it to herself to read at least three books: House of Mirth, Feminine Mystique, and The Poison Pill.

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's writing manual:

Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
Image via Wikipedia

Lindsey Vonn

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