Edith Wharton: Matters of Mind and Spirit

Overview

Edith Wharton: Matters of Mind and Spirit considers Wharton as a novelist of morals rather than manners, a novelist who in the exercise of writing sought answers to profound spiritual and metaphysical questions. Carol Singley analyzes the short stories and seven novels in light of Wharton's religious and philosophical development and her attitudes toward Anglicanism, Calvinism, Transcendentalism, and Catholicism. Singley situates Wharton in the context of turn-of-the-century science, historicism, and ...
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Overview

Edith Wharton: Matters of Mind and Spirit considers Wharton as a novelist of morals rather than manners, a novelist who in the exercise of writing sought answers to profound spiritual and metaphysical questions. Carol Singley analyzes the short stories and seven novels in light of Wharton's religious and philosophical development and her attitudes toward Anglicanism, Calvinism, Transcendentalism, and Catholicism. Singley situates Wharton in the context of turn-of-the-century science, historicism, and aestheticism, reading her religious and philosophical outlook as an evolving response to the cultural crisis of belief. She further invokes the dynamics of class and gender as central to Wharton's quest, describing the ways in which the author accepted and yet transformed both the classical and Christian traditions that she inherited.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Bringing impressive scholarship to bear, Singley traces the influence, fermentation, and transformation of various philosophical ideas and discourses in Wharton's texts....Without denying the isolation and alienation of Wharton by class and gender insightfully identified by other scholars, Singley returns Wharton to her intellectual and literary origins at home as well as abroad. Whartonians and Americanists will welcome this book." Mary Suzanne Schriber, American Literature
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
1 Priestess of Reason 41
2 Spiritual Homelessness 67
3 Calvinist Tortures 89
4 Fragile Freedoms 127
5 Platonic Idealism 163
6 Catholicism: Fulfillment or Concession? 184
Coda 209
Notes 213
Works Cited 232
Index 249
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