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Crucial Instances

Edith Wharton

Book Overview: 

This is Edith Wharton's second published collection of short stories. One of these seven stories, "Copy: A Dialogue," is written as a short play.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Haven't waited?"

"No—they've gone off; taken another train. Literature's like a big railway-station now, you know: there's a train starting every minute. People are not going to hang round the waiting-room. If they can't get to a place when they want to they go somewhere else."

The application of this parable cost Miss Anson several minutes of throbbing silence. At length she said: "Then I am to understand that the public is no longer interested in—in my grandfather?" She felt as though heaven must blast the lips that risked such a conjecture.

"Well, it's this way. He's a name still, of course. People don't exactly want to be caught not knowing who he is; but they don't want to spend two dollars finding out, when they can look him up for nothing in any biographical dictionary."

Miss Anson's world reeled. She felt herself adrift among mysterious forces, and no more thought o. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“Crucial Instances” is the second collection of short fiction from Edith Wharton and was published on March 30th of 1901. This book consists of six works of short fiction, and one dialogue, most of which had been published previously in magazines, but there is also a previously unpublished story, “T

Wharton isn’t especially interesting or amusing, but she is consistently readable.

The second collection of Edith Wharton short stories that I read and I can say that my impressions are similar to the ones made by the first. There are some very nice moments, some mediocre and some completely indifferent. Inside the collection there are three stories on painting that, to my knowled

I think I enjoy Wharton's earlier stories more than her later ones. Here again we see her wrestling with some current issues through her medium. My favourite story, "The Angel at the Grave," is a beautiful examination of the fate of many of the lesser Transcendentals as the 19th century progressed.

A book of short stories written by Edith Wharton.
It was okay, I love Edith Wharton, but this was not a hit for me.

I think the thing I love about Whartons writing so much is her ability to paint a scene, to lay out characters and unfold them. This is not something you can always do with such short st

FIRST LINE REVIEW: "Have you ever questioned the long shuttered front of an old Italian house, that motionless mask, smooth, mute, equivocal as the face of a priest behind which buzz the secrets of the confessional?" If you have, then you'll understand and enjoy the stories in this collection. They

Wharton shows her wide range of talents in this collection. There is one "Dialogue" or play, several written in third person, several in first person, written from a man's point of view and some from a woman's. All of them are carefully crafted to show a particular attitude or character or scene in

"He was the oldest man I had ever seen; so sucked back into the past that he seemed more like a memory than a living being." from THE DUCHESS AT PRAYER ... Edith Wharton cannot be resisted, for the love of English!

This collection of stories show solid, quality work from Wharton. I'm unsure if I could pinpoint a connecting thread through them, but I enjoyed each one. The first story, The Duchess at Prayer, is the most haunting for me. It could have been included with her Tales of Men and Ghosts and fit right i

Reading early Wharton has been interesting so far. These collections seem to be a bit all over the place and while that's not bad and definitely sort of to be expected approaching someone who was just starting to get published and maybe hadn't not found but established a voice, it makes it difficult

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