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The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

  

by Edith Wharton

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature and Philosophy

  • Ecclesiastes 7:4 (The title)
  • Jean de La Bruyère (1.1.95) (2.12.3) – a French essayist
  • Sarum Rule (1.2.31) – a Latin liturgy
  • Omar Khayyám (1.6.7) – a Persian poet and philosopher
  • "If you would forgive your enemy, first inflict a hurt on him", a Malay proverb (1.10.39)
  • William Shakespeare, The Tempest ("Caliban" and "Miranda") (1.12.19)
  • Aeschylus, The Eumenides (1.13.78)
  • "Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God", The Gospel of Matthew (1.14.10)
  • Paul Verlaine (2.1.33) – a French poet
  • Theocritus (2.2.4) – a Greek poet

Mythological References

  • Minerva (1.9.61) – the Roman name for the Greek Athena, goddess of wisdom and war
  • The Furies (1.13.78, 1.14.78, 1.15.12, 1.15.48, 2.10.96)
  • Perseus and Andromeda (1.14.44)
  • Venus (2.9.2) – The Roman name for the Greek Aphrodite, the goddess of sex, love, and beauty

Art References

  • Richard Wagner (1.10.38) – a German composer known for his operas
  • Sandro Botticelli (1.12.14) – an Italian Renaissance painter
  • Francisco Goya (1.12.15) – a Spanish painter
  • Titian (1.12.15) – an Italian Renaissance painter
  • Hugo Wilhelm Kauffmann (1.12.15) – a German painter
  • Paulo Veronese (1.12.15) – an Italian Renaissance painter
  • Sir Joshua Reynolds, "Mrs. Lloyd" (1.12.17)
  • Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1.12.17) – a Venetian painter

Pop Culture

  • The New York Times (1.9.11)
  • Beatrice Cenci (1.15.13) – an Italian noblewoman involved in a famous murder trial in Rome

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