Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Age of Desire

Entree *****of *****
The Age of Desire is a beautifully written book that captures the essence of paris and the character of Edith Wharton. They say behind every great man is a woman. Behind Edith Wharton, there was Anna Bahlmann—her governess turned literary secretary, and her mothering, nurturing friend. When Wharton turns 45, she has an affair with a younger man that destroys her marriage and her husband (though they never divorce) and distances her from Bahlmann. Her choices are those of an infatuated teenager rather than those of a grown woman and her lover is unworthy of the sacrifices that Wharton makes to be his. If her writing had not been so beautiful, so evocative of the times in which she lived and if she had not been one of the earliest successful women novelists, it would be impossible to respect her. Yet, even as she writes so beautifully of the challenges of the women of her station in her day, she disobeys the strictures and chooses her own path.

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