Every so often I am drawn back to our Edith.
Edith Wharton that is. I'm not sure I know of any other literary Ediths, though doubtless someone will now think of another ten....and I have just thought of Edith Pargiter so will get that one in first.
Perhaps it is snowing and I feel the urge to read Ethan Frome yet again, or perhaps I glance at the shelf and realise I still haven't read half of the novels. This time around it was a visit to The Mount in Lenox Massachussets that did it.
Not that I budged from my armchair mind you, no I leave all that hoohah about locking up the house and getting to the airport, and checking in for the long haul flight and coping with the jet lag, and racing around another continent and driving on the other side of the road, and then back home to piles of post and washing and the empty fridge, I leave all of that to Barbara at Milady's Boudoir. As well as meeting up whenever she has schlepped down west for a visit I tag along on Barbara's virtual literary travels with her too.
So recently I had an email along the lines of ' Send me your address, I am 'somewhere' and I want to send you a postcard.' I duly obliged and then a week or so later this postcard appeared..
And then followed Barbara's blog posts about her visit to The Mount, home of Edith Wharton and a wander around the grounds and I was completely inspired.
Does this happen to you??
I will pause while you all *gasp*
So I sit here with a huge stack of books and am like a butterfly as I flit from one to the next with that huge surge of enthusiasm for a writer I had forgotten about for a while. In my mind Barbara's pictures of Edith's home and her library,
...and there, in one of the books in front of me the newspaper cutting that I had sensibly kept and even filed in the right place for once, about the sale of those books and their eventual return to their rightful place at The Mount. I had known that the books had been retrieved from the Saltwood Castle home of MP Alan Clark and eventually sold back to the U.S. by a Yorkshire man, but I had no idea that Colin Clark, brother of Alan and son of Kenneth Clark had been Edith Wharton's godson and had been left the books in her will.
Then I have to decide what I am actually going to read. Rather than twenty pages each from ten different books...which particular one am I going to settle on.
I really would like to read Hermione Lee's biography but haven't managed that yet though I do browse it, so I settled on the much 'lighter' (and with lots of pictures) one by Eleanor Dwight.
I am going to head for some of the short stories too, because the new Persephone short story collection has me right in the mood having read Edith Wharton's Roman Fever in there. I had read it before but it still has the power to surprise, surely one of the most perfectly formed short stories with its delivery of that quietly satisfying knock-out punch in the last line. You can read Roman Fever here and please do let me know if you agree.
In the end The Age of Innocence was first up amongst the novels, and yes I too was mystifed as to why I hadn't read that either. I have finished that now, and for those who *gasped* backalong you will be very pleased to know I have finally moved on to The House of Mirth.
All I can say about that is *gasp* what an amazing book so far.
So how about you... your favourite Edith Whartons??