Tag Archives: ” Edith Wharton

Writing Under the Influence

I’ve blogged about Jane before, and I’m doing it again. Jane Eyre, that is.  I’ve been thinking about her because I’ve just finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey’s take on  Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel.  (Livesey herself calls it a “continued conversation.”) Beginning with the first sentence, Livesey sprinkles similarities to the original throughout her novel, weaving in her own autobiographical details.  In both, we have an orphaned girl, a cruel aunt, a book on birds, a mysterious landowner, a sickly boarding school friend who dies in Jane’s/Gemma’s arms, etc.  In Brontë, of course, what comes between Jane & … Continue reading

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All You Need Is Love

I’ve been thinking in terms of grand, declarative statements:  Writing fiction is an act of love.  Fiction depends upon empathy.  Writing fiction is a moral act.  Fiction is amoral.  Fiction is true.  Fiction depends on lies.  Beauty is truth, and truth, beauty. Etc. I’ve been thinking of short stories with clear, dramatized change: “Araby” by James Joyce; “How Far She Went” (Mary Hood); “Roman Fever” (Edith Wharton); “Barn Burning” by William Faulkner.  I’ve been remembering, and re-reading, stories with unsympathetic main characters and /or situations of rape, drug abuse, murder:  Denis Johnson’s “Work” and Grace Paley’s “The Little Girl”; Flannery … Continue reading

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Let It Shine

There will be no post next week, January 13.  I’ll be back January 20. Epiphany.  That’s what today is, on the church calendar:  the Feast of the Epiphany.  Twelfth night.  The magi—three wise men—showed up to pay homage to the babe in the manger and, the story goes, recognized him as the son of God.  That’s what, to practicing Christians, “epiphany” marks:  the manifestation of the divine. James Joyce used the word to refer to a literary technique, most famously in Dubliners (“a series of fifteen epiphanies,” he called the stories). Joyce’s epiphanies mark those moments where a story transcends … Continue reading

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