By J. Haytock
This learn imagines modernism as a sequence of conversations and locates Edith Wharton’s voice in these debates.
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If he does not fear Anna’s questions or his own answers, which might lead to the revelation of his and Sophy’s affair, he fears the gaps in communication that might reveal that intimacy between one soul and another is merely an illusion. As tensions, described as “atmospheric disturbances” (159), mount and intrigue deepens at Givré, both Anna and Darrow—and perhaps Owen and Sophy, though we are given limited access to their thoughts PROBLEM OF IMPRESSIONISM IN THE REEF 35 and feelings—come to depend almost not at all on spoken words and instead try to interpret the behavior and manners of those around them.
W. B. Lewis, Wharton “had her first guided introduction” to the modern paintings of Degas, Manet, Corot, Renoir, and Whistler in 1908 at the home of her friend Jacques Emile Blanche, whom she first visited in the company of Fullerton (213). After the relationship’s denouement, she wrote The Reef in only a few months, in contrast to the almost five years she needed for The Custom of the Country. The novel contains highly personal material, including a mature woman embarking on her first real sexual affair with an emotionally unreliable man.
After the relationship’s denouement, she wrote The Reef in only a few months, in contrast to the almost five years she needed for The Custom of the Country. The novel contains highly personal material, including a mature woman embarking on her first real sexual affair with an emotionally unreliable man. Biographer Hermione Lee calls The Reef “one of [Wharton’s] most autobiographical novels, looking not at all like autobiography” (354). In this novel, Wharton was able to explore sexual relations and female sexuality as she had not done previously.