Literary Birthday – 24 January – Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was born 24 January 1862, and died 11 August 1937.

Edith Wharton Quotes

‘What is writing a novel like?
1. The beginning: A ride through a spring wood.
2. The middle: The Gobi desert.
3. The end: A night with a lover.
I am now in the Gobi desert.’ (via)

  1. Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.
  2. The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humour or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances on any subject cross like interarching searchlights.
  3. There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.
  4. I don’t know if I should care for a man who made life easy; I should want someone who made it interesting.
  5. Each time you happen to me all over again.
  6. Ah, good conversation – there’s nothing like it, is there? The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.
  7. We can’t behave like people in novels, though, can we?
  8. In spite of illness, in spite even of the arch enemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways.
  9. Silence may be as variously shaded as speech.
  10. What a shame it is for a nation to be developing without a sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast.
  11. The American landscape has no foreground and the American mind no background.
  12. I had written short stories that were thought worthy of preservation! Was it the same insignificant I that I had always known?
  13. Some things are best mended by a break.
  14. After all, one knows one’s weak points so well, that it’s rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others.
  15. Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn’t any.

Edith Wharton was an American author. She was born into ‘Old New York’, where women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond marriage. Author of The Age of InnocenceEthan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote more than 40 books in 40 years, including works on architecture and gardens. She was the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; an honorary Doctorate from Yale University; and full membership in the Academy of Arts and Letters. She was also a master builder and gardener.

Source for photograph: E. F. Cooper, Newport, Rhode Island, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 24th January 2013