Classics · Covers · Wharton

Covers: More Wharton

Three of the books by Edith Wharton that I’ve included I’ve not finished so I had to cheat a bit with a Wikipedia reference to get a sense for the covers. I was determined to have at least of her books in the package, so I added:

The Reef. This begins with an American taking the train to France and I couldn’t get past the early stages. As I understand it, it’s another story chiefly of Americans on the continent.

For the cover, I used the first of two from the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. It is The Brunette painted about 1913 by William James Glackens. I don’t know how well paintings of this style quite fit for book covers, but it gives a sense of the pre-WWI period. But I don’t know who the subject is.

This is the second Barnes cover. I picked up The Custom of the Country after the Times Magazine gave it a write-up. But I found the obsession with the main characters concerning upward mobility–something I touch on in my Gilded Age novels with some characters who I try to have reject the “expectations” of their families and their society–to discouraging to merit the book’s completion.

But the cover. It is also by Glackens, this time done in around 1916. Seated Woman with Fur Neckpiece and Red Background is its name and the subject, about whom I know nothing, seems ready to work her way through whatever fashionable society she finds herself.

The final of the current crop of Wharton’s I have not started. It is Summer, and according to Wikipedia:

Summer is a novel by Edith Wharton, which was published in 1917 by Charles Scribner’s Sons. While most novels by Edith Wharton dealt with New York’s upper-class society, this is one of two novels by Wharton that were set in New England. Its themes include social class, the role of women in society, destructive relationships, sexual awakening and the desire of its protagonist, named Charity Royall. The novel was rather controversial for its time and is one of the less famous among her novels because of its subject matter.

The cover is entitled The House Maid by William McGregor Paxton, from 1910. It comes from the National Gallery. The main character, Charity Royall, is not a maid, of course. But she is not from society so I thought a young woman in a New England house was an appropriate image for her.

So there we have it, the final three Wharton covers.

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