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Edith Wharton is an American icon who left behind a great legacy of literary works, including The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. To fully enjoy and learn from these works of literary art, it is important to understand certain biographical parallels in Wharton's life that she works into her novels. Research through academic journals, biographies, and other sources reveals that she led a life well outside the confines of society's expectations for a woman living in that time. She lived a very public life, mingling with some of the great philosophers and writers of the period. In fact, her greatest confidante was the prominent literary figure Henry James. Despite her many public positions she was vigorous in keeping certain aspects of her life quiet, such as her affair with Morton Fullerton. The very facets of her life that she held so private are the ones mirrored so boldly in her writings. She often included her own life events in her novels, projecting her own attributes on her characters' lives; however, when she wrote her autobiography A Backwards Glance, she was careful to omit them.


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  • Event location
    • Robinson Ballroom

  • Event date
    • 21 March 2012

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Kristin Kelly