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Edith Wharton and the Modern Privileges of Age$
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Melanie V. Dawson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066301

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066301.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Watching the Flame of Youth

Watching the Flame of Youth

Chapter:
(p.149) 4 Watching the Flame of Youth
Source:
Edith Wharton and the Modern Privileges of Age
Author(s):

Melanie V. Dawson

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813066301.003.0005

Focusing on the “flaming youth” figure of the 1920s, this chapter explores the prevalence of discussions about child marriage in works by Wharton and Fabian, exploring forms of generation-specific authority and the peculiar age-specific qualities of the “child-woman” at the center of these plots. Scenes of youthful teen girls’ slumber, which frequently overlap with middle-aged men’s sexual interests, predict many of the aspects of these relationships that interest Wharton, whose fictions imagine child marriage, then increasingly problematize the age-asymmetrical relationships involved in such unions.

Keywords:   child marriage, marriage, age-asymmetrical relationships, Fabian, flaming youth, child-woman, generation-specific authority, slumber

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