"Society is a revolving body which is apt to be judged according to its place in each man’s heaven; and at present it was turning its illuminated face to Lily." —American novelist and short-story writer Edith Wharton (1862-1937), The House of Mirth (1905)
The structures and strictures of society were constant themes of Edith Wharton throughout her four decades as a fiction writer, and perhaps never more so than in The House of Mirth. She wrote this luminous yet astringent novel at the beginning of the 20th century, while a summer resident of Lenox in Massachusetts’ Berkshires. I’ll be visiting that home (built to her specifications), The Mount, while on vacation this week in this picturesque away, and hope to write of it soon.