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Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism$
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Meredith Goldsmith and Emily J. Orlando

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062815

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062815.001.0001

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Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

A Citizen of the World

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction Edith Wharton
Source:
Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism
Author(s):

Meredith L. Goldsmith

Emily J. Orlando

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062815.003.0001

This introductory chapter explores Wharton’s cosmopolitan engagements, beginning with a reading of The Age of Innocence. Distinguishing between the immersive cosmopolitanism of Ellen Olenska and the liberal, yet dilettantish cosmopolitanism of Newland Archer, the chapter argues that Wharton would balance disparate cosmopolitanisms throughout her career. Positioning Wharton’s career in relation to cosmopolitan theory, in particular the work of Kwame Anthony Appiah and Bruce Robbins, the chapter argues that viewing Wharton’s global and transnational engagements offers new insights into her work. In addition, it argues for reading Wharton’s work more actively across genre, demonstrating how critics have made a false division between Wharton’s fiction, political writings, and non-fiction prose.

Keywords:   Cosmopolitanism, The Age of Innocence, Global, Genre, Transnationalism, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Bruce Robbins

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