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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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The Glimpses of the Moon and the Transatlantic Debate over Marital Reform

The Glimpses of the Moon and the Transatlantic Debate over Marital Reform

(p.19) 1 The Glimpses of the Moon and the Transatlantic Debate over Marital Reform
Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism
Clare Virginia Eby
University Press of Florida

This chapter contextualizes Wharton’s distinctive relation to modernity as instantiating a new model of marriage promulgated by Progressive era reformers. While the protagonists of Glimpses of the Moon enter marriage for crass reasons, they ultimately affirm their union as based on affection, not economics, and as a private and voluntary rather than social or legal agreement, the authenticity of which is confirmed by the availability of divorce. Wharton’s much-criticized conclusion, in which the couple celebrates motherhood and assume essentialized gender roles, is itself consistent with the Progressive reformers’ vision of modern marriage.

Keywords:   Marriage, reformers, Progressive era, divorce, gender, essentialism, modernity, motherhood

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