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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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Here/There, Now/Then, Both/And

Here/There, Now/Then, Both/And

Regionalism and Cosmopolitanism in Edith Wharton’s Old New York

(p.166) 7 Here/There, Now/Then, Both/And
Edith Wharton and Cosmopolitanism

June Howard

University Press of Florida

Reading Edith Wharton’s Old New York through the genre of regionalism reveals the complexity of her cosmopolitanism, and strengthens the case for reading the volume as a unified work. The chapter discusses relevant aspects of the cultural history of the decades in which the four stories are set (such as the associations of tuberculosis in “False Dawn” and the ormolu clock in “The Old Maid”) and reviews the early publication history of each story and the collection. Close readings trace how Wharton connects and contrasts the United States and Europe (especially New York City and Italy) and puts their correspondences with historical eras into play—challenging received notions of progress and the assumption that cultivated taste correlates with integrity. The chapter argues that the way Old New York maps time onto place enables the projection of alternative values within a work that remains publishable and legible in its own moment.

Keywords:   regionalism, Italy, publication history, time, place, cosmopolitanism, Old New York

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