Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Edith Wharton

Though Edith Wharton didn't write mysteries, she is among my favorite writers, mostly I suppose because of her understanding of life's ironies, and her adept manipulation of them in her plots. She had the power to drive readers to anger at the injustice endured by her unfortunate heroes; she could also elicit a wry smile with a masterful ironic ending.

She broke my heart with Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth. She amazed me with the delicacy of her prose in The Age of Innocence.

In her honor, I quote some words she once wrote which could be anyone's daily mantra; they are quietly inspirational:

"In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways."

or this interesting metaphor:

"Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope. "

-- Edith Wharton

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