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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 Cosmopolitan at War

The Cosmopolitan at War

Edith Wharton and Transnational Material Culture

(p.187) 8 The Cosmopolitan at War
Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism

Mary Carney

University Press of Florida

Edith Wharton’s war literature reflects her attentiveness to the material culture of France and its powerful embodiment of intercultural exchange across centuries and cultures. In Wharton’s two major World War I texts, her earliest essays in Fighting France, from Dunkerque to Belfort (1915) and her final war novel, A Son at the Front (1923), material phenomena push the narrative toward a more nuanced view of warfare, one in which violence happens against a backdrop of transcultural objects created by “imagined communities” reaching back centuries. As an example of women’s warw literature, Wharton’s work illuminates the tragic consequences of mechanized violence of international warfare while also providing a heightened expression of the interrelatedness of cultures.

Keywords:   World War I, Fighting France, A Son at the Front, intercultural exchange, Imagined communities, material culture, women’s war literature

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