The commodification of women in Edith Wharton's fiction
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Edith Wharton is commonly perceived as a reactionary conservative looking back to the past. In this thesis I explore the idea that she is rather a woman ahead of her time, with a keen perception of the pressures brought to bear on women and men in the new industrialized society of the twentieth century. I think that feminism, and a dislike of commodification which approaches Marxism, lie embedded in her work. I try to unearth these in her major "society" novels, The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence and the Custom of the Country, in two minor novels, Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive, and in her novel of "ordinary folk", Ethan Frome.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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