The point of this blog will be to explore and bring to life Wharton’s ideas about society, not just from her perspective as a writer and critic of the Manhattanite social circles of her day, the people and values that she knew so intimately, but from perspectives in and on the 21st Century.
Some questions that this blog will try to address are: Why is Wharton still so important? Why are her characters unable to make effective life choices? Has Edwardian society disappeared completely? Or do traces of it still exist? How are the protests and progressive movements of today evidence that the prejudices, like those in Wharton’s fiction, are still unbroken? Will faith in present-day technology lead to positive change, or disaster? How did Wharton respond to the disasters of her time, like the sinking of the Titanic? Why is both the denial and expression of passion so destructive? And how could this once snooty (even, and especially of her own class), yet brilliant woman, born over 150 years ago, have this much impact on how we think today?
Hopefully, this blog will try to understand Wharton’s literary legacy in the context of today, and shed her reflecting “light” on and insight into the lessons of history.