Featured Literary Musing

Edith Wharton’s Reflections on Her Writing Life

The following passages are from Edith Wharton’s memoir on writing and life, A Backward Glance, 1934:

A first attempt at a novel, rejected by Mother

“My first attempt (at age of eleven) was a novel, which began: ‘Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?’ said Mrs. Tomkins. ‘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.'”

This was so crushing to a would-be novelist of manners that it shook me rudely out of my dream of writing fiction, and I turned to poetry instead. It was not thought necessary to feed my literary ambitions with foolscap, and for lack of paper I was driven to begging for the wrappings of the parcels delivered at the house.”  Read More→


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