Inventing the Real: "The Old Maid" and "The Real Thing"
Using shades of irony to capture moments of surprise and sadness, Edith Wharton and Henry James play with reality—in the work of a portrait artist and in the secret love of a “fallen” woman for her daughter.
The author of over forty books, Edith Wharton (1862–1937) won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence.
Henry James (1843–1916) wrote numerous stories, essays, plays, and novels, including The Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors.
Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, and comparative literature at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
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