Inventing the Real

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Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2008 - Fiction - 152 pages
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Ironies upon ironies unfold as two kindred writers (in life as well as art) and masters of the short story dance along the border between reality and appearance. Wharton explores the secret love of a woman for her illegitimate daughter, whom her married sister has adopted in an effort to save the mother's reputation and to allow her daughter to have a peaceful childhood. James probes a portrait painter's art as he deals with a couple of threadbare aristocrats, who are seeking employment as his models. They are the "real thing" he is seeking to portray--denizens of drawing room society--but his work is thwarted when he discovers that plucky lower-class models are, in fact, far better able to take on the personae of a rarified class.

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About the author (2008)

Born in 1862, American writerEdith Wharton published numerous works includingThe Age of Innocence,Ethan Fromme, andThe House of Mirth. Her writings became widely celebrated, earning her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 and an honorary degree from Yale in 1923. Edith Wharton died of a stroke in 1937 in St.-Brice-sous-For t, France.

Born in 1843,Henry James remains a preeminent author and literary critic. Born in the US, he spent most of his working life in England. He is best known for novels such asThe Portrait of a Lady,The Golden Bowl, andThe Wings of the Dove. He died in 1916.

Mary Ann Caws is Distinguished Professor of English, French, Comparative Literature, and Film Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has received Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, Getty, and Rockefeller fellowships. Caws has served on many editorial boards and national committees.

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