“Fatally Poor and Dingy”

Self is reading Edith Wharton, for the first time in many years.  The book is The House of Mirth, and self vaguely recalls a movie starring Gillian Anderson.

So here she is, on p. 93 of the Everyman’s Classic edition, and the passages read almost like a “what-not-to-do-when-entering-upper-class-social-circles” primer of sorts.

  • To Miss Bart, as to her mother, acquiescence in dinginess was evidence of stupidity; and there where moments when, in the consciousness of her own power to look and to be so exactly what the occasion required, she almost felt that other girls were plain and inferior from choice.
  • . . .  it is almost as stupid to let your clothes betray that you know you are ugly as to have them proclaim that you think you are beautiful.
  • She . . .  was aware of Miss Farish’s habit of ascribing her own delicacies of feeling to the persons least likely to be encumbered by them.
  • The cleverest girl may miscalculate where her own interests are concerned, may yield too much at one moment and withdraw too far at the next:  it takes a mother’s unerring vigilance and foresight to land her daughters safely in the arms of wealth and suitability.

(Upon performing a search of the movie adaptation, self learns that Dan Akroyd plays a sleazy lecher named Guy Treanor.  Eric Stoltz plays The Point of View, Lawrence Selden.  She still doesn’t know what to make of Gillian Anderson as the Lily Bart character, as Gillian seems way too intelligent and independent)

P. S.  In this novel, the words “dingy” or “dinginess” seem to occur a lot.  One must always strive to avoid aforementioned condition.  It is a horror.  At least, it is to any self-respecting young woman.  According to Ms. Wharton.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Latest Book Deals (Courtesy of PUBLISHERS LUNCH WEEKLY 4 July 2011)

Latest e-letter from Publishers Weekly has announcement of the following deals:

Fiction by First-Time Novelists:

  • Michael Boccacino’s Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling, “a Victorian gothic tale pitched as The Turn of the Screw meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell meets Jane Eyre and the love child of Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton, in which a feisty young governess at a dilapidated manor falls in love with her widower employer and discovers a dark alternate world called The Ending, the place for things that cannot die, in which the deceased mother of the two boys under her care has been waiting to pick up where she left off in the ominous House of Darkling . . . ” to Harper Perennial, for publication in July 2012

General/ Other

  • Michael Kimball’s Big Ray, “the story of a son coming to terms with the sudden death of his obese father, told through 500 brief entries, moving back and forth between past and present, the father’s death and his life, between an abusive childhood and an adult understanding,” to Bloomsbury


  • South Carolina governor and tea party favorite Nikki Haley’s Can’t Is Not an Option, covering everything from growing up in rural south Carolina, doing bookkeeping and taxes for her parents in middle school —  an early experience of fighting government red tape . . . ” to Sentinel, for publication on January 3, 2012

There were other deal announcements, such as Gaby Rodriguez’s untitled memoir, “about her experience faking a pregnancy for 6 1/2 months as a high school senior to determine the stereotypes of unwed teen mothers, unveiling the results at a student assembly weeks before graduation,” sold to Simon and Schuster Children’s but, alas, the time has come for self to resume the book she is currently reading, Edith Wharton’s (relatively depressing and mirth-less) The House of Mirth (Sample passage, Everyman’s Library edition, p. 68:  “Expansive persons found him a little dry, and very young girls thought him sarcastic; but this air of friendly aloofness, as far removed as possible from any assertion of personal advantage, was the quality which piqued Lily’s interest.  Everything about him accorded with the fastidious element in her taste, even to the light irony with which he surveyed what seemed to her most sacred.”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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