In Edith Wharton’s works, references to structure, inside ornament, portray, sculpture, and style abound. As those essays display, artwork and items are for Wharton proof of cultural trust and replicate the values, assumptions, and customs of the burgeoning client tradition within which she lived and approximately which she wrote. additionally, her meditations approximately problems with structure, layout, and ornament function vital commentaries on her imaginative and prescient of the literary arts.
In The ornament of Houses she notes that furnishings and bric-à-brac are usually crowded right into a room which will atone for a "lack of architectural composition within the therapy of the walls," and that until a decorative item "adequately expresses an inventive perception" it truly is larger faraway from the room. those aesthetic criteria observe both to her development of narratives and are proof of a sensibility that counters standard understandings of Wharton as a novelist of manners and position her in its place as an incredible determine within the improvement of yank literary modernism.
Essays during this assortment handle concerns comparable to parallels among her characters and the homes they occupy; costume as a metaphor for the flux of severe style; the selling of Wharton's paintings to a growing to be girl readership ; her dating to mass tradition industries comparable to ads, theater, and cinema; the tableaux vivant either as set piece and as fictional procedure; the illustration of lady our bodies as objets d’art; and her characters’ makes an attempt at self-definition during the acquisition and intake of fabric items. All of Wharton’s significant novels—The condominium of Mirth, The Fruit of the Tree, Ethan Frome, The customized of the rustic, summer time, The Age of Innocence, and Twilight Sleep—as good as her brief tales, feedback, and essays are explored.