26.4.08

Portrait of the Novelist as a Young Girl

There's a fascinating essay with accompanying slideshow about Edith Wharton's home, The Mount, over at Slate. The property was facing foreclosure, but thanks to donations now has had something of a stay of execution. You have to go have a wander around Edith's former home, if only to see the leopard-print carpeted staircase. You can certainly see how the former Miss Jones was connected with the Jonses the rest of the world wished to keep up with.

I've been reading Hermione Lee's Edith Wharton and came across the following quotation from Wharton's memoir, A Backward Glance:

My first attempt (at the age of eleven) was a novel, which began: 'Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?" said Mrs. Tompkins. 'If only I had known you were going to call I should have tidied up the drawing-room.' Timorously I submitted this to my mother, and never shall I forget the sudden drop of my creative frenzy when she returned it with the icy comment: 'Drawing-rooms are always tidy.'

That picture of baby Edith appears here where you can also learn more about The Mount. As my son would say, "Oh look, she's a ginger."

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