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Sunday, 08 July 2007

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Sisyphus

My _God_! They all talk like her! I should have realized, but didn't ever think about that.

Now what are they all nattering on about?

(I'm not going to actually read that ProjectMuse article tonight, but I would think that I disagree: wasn't _Mirth_ so popular because the middle classes could indulge their _ressentiment_ and feel superior to those snooty ol' upper classes?)

What's with all the skeleton references in those letters? Hunh.

And it's been I don't know how long, but I didn't remember the sum of her inheritance. 'Course, all I remember is that they were all on a boat at one point, and that she sewed spangles on a hat, but badly, which made me wonder what "spangles" look like exactly.

SEK

I excised numerous references to skeletons, as the metaphor damn near overwhelmed the correspondence. Everyone was concerned with soiled linen and hidden skeletons, if you reckon by this account. As for your memory of the inheritance, it's an acceptable omission in all cases but one: writing about it in a peer-reviewed academic article. That neither the author nor her readers caught it bothers me.

And I agree with your idea that a sense of Schadenfreude cants our sympathies for Lily now, and that it likely accounts for its popularity then; more to the point, I think Wharton's respectability authorized the transformation of Lily in a rich spectacle for turn-of-the-last-century readers. You know, like if Rushdie started writing for The Star or some other check-out line tabloid.

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