“How sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet”*…
Much, much more at Pop ’67!– “meanwhile, 50 years ago…”
* Robert Browning
As we watch what goes around come around, we might send sharply-observed birthday greetings to Edith Wharton (nee Edith Newbold Jones); she was born on this date in 1862. A novelist, short story writer, and designer, she combined an insider’s view of America’s privileged classes with a brilliant, natural wit to become a pre-eminent novelist of manners, writing humorous, incisive novels (and short stories) rich in social and psychological insight… and criticism of the upper class society into which she was born.
Wharton was friend and confidante to many gifted intellectuals of her time: Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau and André Gide were all her guests at one time or another. Theodore Roosevelt, Bernard Berenson, and Kenneth Clark were valued friends as well. Her meeting with F. Scott Fitzgerald was described by the editors of her letters as “one of the better known failed encounters in the American literary annals.” (Nervous at being in Wharton’s presence, Fitzgerald embarrassed himself by telling her a long story of how he & Zelda had spent a night in a bordello, thinking it was a hotel.)
Wharton won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature for her novel The Age of Innocence, making her the first woman to be so honored.