|Publisher||D. Appleton & Company|
The Reef is a 1912 novel by American writer Edith Wharton. It was published by D. Appleton & Company. It concerns a romance between a widow and her former lover. The novel takes place in Paris and rural France, but primarily features American characters. While writing the novel, Edith Wharton visited England, Sicily, and Germany, among other locations.In a letter to Bernard Berenson in November 1912, Wharton expressed regret regarding her novel, calling it a “poor miserable lifeless lump”. She wrote, “Anyhow, remember it’s not me, though I thought it was when I was writing it—& that next time I’m going to do something worthwhile!!”
George Darrow, an American diplomat residing in London, has remained in contact with his former love, Anna Leath, who previously married another man. Now widowed, she resumes contact with Darrow. Darrow desires to continue the relationship he had with Anna but remains concerned about her commitment to the relationship.
The novel begins with Darrow preparing to join Anna in France when he receives a telegram ordering him to wait "til thirtieth" because of an "unexpected obstacle" - one of many such delays Anna has ordered. Deeply humiliated and disappointed, Darrow boards the boat regardless and runs into the young Sophy Viner, a woman he had previously encountered but never gotten to know thoroughly . Sophy, although down on her luck, is an ambitious aspiring actress determined to start a new life in France. Enthralled, Darrow convinces her to spend a few days with him so he can show her around Paris. During their time spent together, the two enter into a romantic affair.
Months later, Darrow meets Anna at her French country chateau at Givré. They speak of their future and of Anna's stepson Owen, who wishes to marry a woman of whom his grandmother, Dowager Marquise de Chantelle, does not approve. Additionally, Darrow informs Anna of his plans for their future together: he hopes to move to South America together for his job. It is revealed that Anna has hired a governess for her young daughter, Effie. That governess is Sophy Viner.
Sophy, embarrassed by the situation, begs Darrow not to say anything that might jeopardize her employment. Darrow tries to convince Sophy not to marry Owen, and Sophy accuses him of jealousy. Darrow admits to Anna that he knew Sophy already. Anna quizzes him about Sophy, out of concern for Owen, who is engaged to Sophy. Darrow agrees with the Marquise that the union would not be wise.
The Dowager Marquise requests that an old family friend, Adelaide Painter, talk some sense into the family. However, when Adelaide supports the union, the Marquise concedes to her grandson. The road is clear for Owen and Sophy to marry, which also frees the path for Darrow and Anna.
Sophy unexpectedly breaks off the engagement to Owen. Owen becomes suspicious of Darrow's influence over Sophy. The main characters then attempt to figure out what happened by interrogating each other. This part of the novel shows an increase in dialogue, and an unusually high rate of dialogue for Wharton's novels.
Sophy eventually reveals to Darrow that she has loved him since Paris. The affair between Darrow and Sophy is revealed to Anna. Darrow attempts to explain that the affair was short lived, but Anna cannot live with the knowledge and becomes convinced that the revelation destroyed any potential for a future relationship.
Despite the fact that Anna believes herself to be well matched with Darrow, she is unable to overcome her jealousy of Sophy. She becomes obsessed with imagining the time they spent together.
Owen leaves for Spain. Sophy is reemployed by Mrs. Murrett, her previous employer, and moves to India. Anna encounters Sophy's large, slovenly sister and her lover, which gives Anna the perspective that Sophy is not as much of a fallen woman as she originally thought. Anna attempts to convince herself that she should not marry Darrow, but cannot bring herself to do it.
George Darrow: 37-year-old American Diplomat who is living in London at the beginning of the novel. He becomes engaged to Anna Leath.
Anna Leath: American widow living in Givré, which is in rural France. She becomes engaged to George Darrow.
Sophy Viner: young American woman who aspires to become an actress. She is engaged to Owen Leath.
Owen Leath: Anna's stepson, age 23. He is engaged to Sophy Viner.
Effie Leath: Anna's daughter, age 9
Dowager Marquise de Chantelle: Anna's mother in law, age 60
Adelaide Painter: American friend of the family and of the Marquise
Mrs. Murrett: Sophy's previous employer
Fraser Leath: Anna's deceased husband
Jimmy Brance: Servant in Murrett household, associate of Sophy's sister
In a review published in the New York Sun on November 23, 1912, the book was described as “a bitter, disheartening, sordid story and we could wish that Mrs. Wharton would look on brighter and nobler aspects of life."Similarly, in his review, H.I. Brock called the book “rather conspicuously a failure”.
Many critics assert that Wharton uses The Reef to work on possible problems troubling her at the time, specifically her first experience of passionate love that involved Morton Fullerton.While Wharton was writing The Reef she was additionally learning about her husband’s affairs after years of a sexless marriage. It is commonly believed that Anna and Sophy represent Wharton before and after her encounter with Fullerton, with Anna representing the sexually repressed woman that Wharton once feared she would remain. Sophy has been described as "Wharton's natural alter ego."
The novel was adapted into a film The Reef (also known as Passion's Way) in 1999 starring Sela Ward, Timothy Dalton and Alicia Witt.
Edith Wharton was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer. Wharton drew upon her insider's knowledge of the upper class New York "aristocracy" to realistically portray the lives and morals of the Gilded Age. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in Literature, for her novel The Age of Innocence. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1996. Among her other well known works are the The House of Mirth and the novella Ethan Frome.
The Age of Innocence is a 1920 novel by American author Edith Wharton. It was her twelfth novel, and was initially serialized in 1920 in four parts, in the magazine Pictorial Review. Later that year, it was released as a book by D. Appleton & Company. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making Wharton the first woman to win the prize. Though the committee had initially agreed to give the award to Sinclair Lewis for Main Street, the judges, in rejecting his book on political grounds, "established Wharton as the American 'First Lady of Letters'". The story is set in the 1870s, in upper-class, "Gilded-Age" New York City. Wharton wrote the book in her 50s, after she had established herself as a strong author, with publishers clamoring for her work.
The House of Mirth is a 1905 novel by American author Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Lily Bart, a well-born but impoverished woman belonging to New York City's high society around the end of the 19th century. Wharton creates a portrait of a stunning beauty who, though raised and educated to marry well both socially and economically, is reaching her 29th year, an age when her youthful blush is drawing to a close and her marital prospects are becoming ever more limited. The House of Mirth traces Lily's slow two-year social descent from privilege to a tragically lonely existence on the margins of society. In the words of one scholar, Wharton uses Lily as an attack on "an irresponsible, grasping and morally corrupt upper class."
The Buccaneers is the last novel written by Edith Wharton. The novel is set in the 1870s, around the time Edith Wharton was a young girl. It was unfinished at the time of her death in 1937, and published in that form in 1938. Wharton's manuscript ends with Lizzy inviting Nan to a house party to which Guy Thwarte has also been invited. The book was published in 1938 by Penguin Books in New York. After some time, Marion Mainwaring finished the novel following Wharton's detailed outline of the novel in 1993.
The Other House is a novel by Henry James, first published as a serial in the Illustrated London News in 1896 and then as a book later the same year. Set in England, this book is something of an oddity in the James canon for its plot revolving around a murder. The novel was originally planned as a play called The Promise. James sketched a scenario for the play in 1893, but it didn't interest theater managers. In 1896 James converted the scenario into The Other House for publication in a popular weekly magazine. He converted the novel back into a play in 1909, but it again failed to be produced.
A Girl of the Limberlost, a novel by American writer and naturalist Gene Stratton-Porter, was published in August 1909. It is considered a classic of Indiana literature. It is the sequel to her earlier novel Freckles.
The Marquise of O is a 1976 period drama film directed by Éric Rohmer. Set in 1799, it tells the story of the Marquise von O, a virtuous widow, who finds herself pregnant and protests her innocence while possibly deserving to be exiled. The film was inspired by Heinrich von Kleist's 1808 novella Die Marquise von O. The film won the Grand Prix Spécial Prize at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.
Jennie Fields is an American novelist. Her fourth novel is The Age of Desire, based on the life of American writer Edith Wharton.
Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton, which was published in 1917 by Charles Scribner's Sons. While most novels by Edith Wharton dealt with New York's upper-class society, this is one of two novels by Wharton that were set in New England. Its themes include social class, the role of women in society, destructive relationships, sexual awakening and the desire of its protagonist, named Charity Royall. The novel was rather controversial for its time and is one of the less famous among her novels because of its subject matter.
The Custom of the Country is a 1913 tragicomedy of manners novel by American Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to ascend in New York City society.
A Countess Below Stairs is a 1981 British historical romance novel by Eva Ibbotson. It follows the story of Anna Grazinsky, a Russian countess, after World War I. It has also been published under the title The Secret Countess as a young adult novel.
The Reef is a 1999 American-Czech-German made-for-television historical drama film directed by Robert Allan Ackerman based on the book The Reef by Edith Wharton. It starred Sela Ward, Timothy Dalton, Alicia Witt, Jamie Glover. It was filmed in Prague, Czech Republic in 1996 but did not premiere on CBS until July 25, 1999.
Celestina is an eighteenth-century English novel and poet Charlotte Turner Smith’s third novel. Published in 1791 by Thomas Cadell, the novel tells the story of an adopted orphan who discovers the secret of her parentage and marries the man she loves. It is a courtship novel that follows the typical Cinderella plot while still commenting on contemporary political issues.
Lady Anna is a novel by Anthony Trollope, written in 1871 and first published in book form in 1874. The protagonist is a young woman of noble birth who, through an extraordinary set of circumstances, has fallen in love with and become engaged to a tailor. The novel describes her attempts to resolve the conflict between her duty to her social class and her duty to the man she loves.
William Morton Fullerton was an American print journalist, author and foreign correspondent for The Times. Today he is best known for having a mid-life affair with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton.
High Tension is a 1936 American comedy-drama film directed by Allan Dwan and starring Brian Donlevy, Glenda Farrell, and Norman Foster. It was released by 20th Century Fox on July 17, 1936. The film was based on the story written by J. Robert Bren and Norman Houston.
Affairs of a Gentleman is a 1934 American Pre-Code drama film directed by Edwin L. Marin and written by Cyril Hume, Peter Ruric and Milton Krims, adapted from the play by Edith Ellis and Edward Ellis (actor). The film stars Paul Lukas, Leila Hyams, Patricia Ellis, Phillip Reed, Onslow Stevens and Dorothy Burgess. The film was released on May 1, 1934, by Universal Pictures.
The New Commandment is a 1925 American silent drama film directed by Howard Higgin and written by Sada Cowan and Howard Higgin. It is based on the 1925 novel Invisible Wounds by Frederick Palmer. The film stars Blanche Sweet, Ben Lyon, Holbrook Blinn, Clare Eames, Effie Shannon, and Dorothy Cumming. The film was released on November 1, 1925, by First National Pictures.
Twilight Sleep is a novel by American author Edith Wharton and was first published in 1927 as a serial in the Pictorial Review before being published as a novel in the same year. The story, filled with irony, is centered around a socialite family navigating the New York of the Jazz Age and their relationships. This novel landed at number one on the best-selling list just two months after its publication and finished the year at number 7. Even as a best selling novel Twilight Sleep was not well received by critics at the time, who, while appreciating Wharton as a writer, struggled with the scenarios and characters she had created in the novel. While it was not considered as such in its own time period, today Twilight Sleep is widely considered to be a modernist novel as it employs modernist literary devices, such as an ever changing narration among the novel's characters and a close examination of the characters' self-identities and relationships with one another.
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