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The Greater Inclination

Edith Wharton

Book Overview: 

This is Edith Wharton's earliest published collection of short stories (1899). Like much of her later work, they touch on themes of marriage, male/female relationships, New York society, and the nature and purpose of art. One of the stories, "The Twilight of the God," is written as a short play.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She knew, of course, how dreadfully learned I was, and when, just as she was going to begin, her hostess had whispered to her that I was in the room, she had felt ready to sink through the floor. Then (with a flying dimple) she had remembered Emerson's line—wasn't it Emerson's?—that beauty is its own excuse for seeing, and that had made her feel a little more confident, since she was sure that no one saw beauty more vividly than she—as a child she used to sit for hours gazing at an Etruscan vase on the bookcase in the library, while her sisters played with their dolls—and if seeing beauty was the only excuse one needed for talking about it, why, she was sure I would make allowances and not be too critical and sarcastic, especially if, as she thought probable, I had heard of her having lost her poor husband, and how she had to do it for the baby.

Being abundantly assured of my sympathy on these points, she went on to say that s. . . Read More