Daily Archives for: December 11th, 2016

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905) – a review

The House of Mirth was the first novel by Edith Wharton. Her first book of stories, The Greater Inclination, was published in 1899. Published in 1905, The House of Mirth is the story of Lily Bart, an ambitious woman of New York City’s high society at the turn of the twentieth century.

Lily Bart is well-bred but has no money, and at age twenty-nine, is closing in on permanent spinsterhood. In those times, that was nothing less than tragic. The story is of her downward spiral over the course of about two years.

Her troubling decline was seen as a commentary on a corrupt and heartless upper class. The novel was by and large praised by critics, sold well, and quickly cemented  Wharton’s literary reputation. Read More→


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George Sand on the Agony and Ecstasy of Writing

George Sand (Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin; 1804-1876) the French novelist, memoirist, and essayist, was noted as much for her adventurous life and loves. George Sand’s writing life took her through great ups and downs, something familiar to those of us endeavor to live by the pen.


Pretexts and distractions

“While you are running around to get material for your novel, I am inventing all sorts of pretexts not to write mine. I let myself be distracted by guilty fancies, something I am reading fascinates me and I set myself to scribbling on paper that will be left in my desk and bring me no return.

That has amused me, or rather that has compelled me, for it would be in vain for me to struggle against there caprices; they interrupt me and force me…you see that I have not the strength of mind that you think.”

(From a letter to Gustave Flaubert, 1869) Read More→


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Do you learn anything from reviews of your books?

Dear Literary Ladies,

Is there anything to be gained by reading reviews of one’s books? For most authors, it’s hard to ignore reviews; what with Google alerts, Amazon and Goodreads reviews; everything’s in your face 24/7. What was your experience with reviews, and did you learn anything of value from them?

Talk of reviews! I subscribed to a clipping bureau and they come in shoals every day. So far I have received sixty-six [reviews of Anne of Green Gables ] of which sixty were kind and flattering beyond my highest expectations; of the remaining six two were a mixture of praise and blame, two were contemptuous and positively harsh. Read More→


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