Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Words of New York Wisdom

It's a firm belief that anyone new to new york city should read a little bit of Edith Wharton. And we're not talking about the much pushed-on-high-schoolers Edith Wharton of "Ethan Frome" fame--we mean the Edith Wharton who penned The Age of Innocence, or The House of Mirth. Take for example, if you will, this telling quote, written pre-1920:
(when talking to the countess, on her return to NYC after a long time in Italy)
" 'Yes, you have been away a very long time.'
'Oh, centuries and centuries; so long,' she said, 'that I'm sure I'm dead and buried, and this dear old place is heaven;' which, for reasons he could not define, struck Newland Archer as an even more disrespectful way of describing New York society."

Or perhaps this one:
"Everyone (including Mr. Sillerton Jackson) was agreed that old Catherine had never had beauty--a gift which, in the eyes of New York, justified every success, and excused a certain number of failings."

And this one, regarding New Yorker snobbery in light of impending marriage:
"And, in spite of the cosmopolitan views on which he prided himself, he thanked heaven that he was a New Yorker, and about to ally himself with one of his own kind."

all familiar sentiments, about one hundred years off, don't you agree?

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