Thursday, April 8, 2010

The house of mirth

As I've read this book and thought about the characters I've developed a sort of affection for the era in which this piece was written. Personally I really enjoy the modernist novels, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner and this book falls into that same category. There is something about the time that really holds a firm place with me. I think what The House of Mirth really does for me is shed light on the foundation of the novels I love. One of my favorite books is The Beautiful and the Damned by Fitzgerald, and we wouldn't have that book, if we didn't have The House of Mirth.
I mentioned in class today how much a like both of these novels are and the more I think about the characters the more they become eerily similar. Anthony Patch and Seldon are both very similar in how they feel about the women they love, but even past that I think it's how neither one of them get to the life they want. Even better though, I think this is a sign of the modern movement and The House of Mirth leads the way. I feel that almost all of the modernity canon is a failure for the characters to live up to the expectations of the lives they want and ultimately find their demise. For this hypothesis to hold true, someone is going to have to die or really take a hard fall in The House of Mirth, if I were to guess right now I'd say Lilly. But, I've read The Sound and the Fury, Babbit, Manhattan Transfer and some others, but the one thing that seems to happen is a failure to live up to the status set out by high society or society in general. The House of Mirth has all of the same qualities as these modern novels and it's because of that, that I feel the same thing is going to happen.
Finally, today I asked where this novel fits in Modern Lit. and it was decided that it's sort of in between two periods. Which I see, but I feel like this is a modern novel, just the very beginning of the period. But, what really interests me is the gap between our readings for the semester. We started with Blithedale and have ended up here at The House of Mirth and the novels couldn't be more different. I mention this because I find it fascinating how quickly literature progresses from one period to the next, always evolving and changing into something better and stronger. Being able to see this on paper from beginning to end really hammers the point home, that nothing can stand or has stood in the way of the progression of literature.

1 comment:

  1. Good post, Kent. I'd agree about the amazing distance that the novels have covered in just over 50 years, and the comparison with _The Beautiful and Damned_ (which I also like a lot) is apt.