* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The House of Mirth

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

Analysis: Writing Style

Victorian

Wharton's prose is as proper and intricately gilded as the furniture in the Trenors' drawing room. In the Victorian era, everything from cleavage to ankles to furniture legs were hidden, and, similarly, the much of the action in House of Mirth (revenge, sex, seduction, lust) is hidden in sub-text. When Trenor propositions Lily, all he actually says is, "The man who pays for dinner is generally allowed a seat at the table."

Wharton also has a knack for saying a lot with a little. Try to re-word some of her more incisive one-liners and you'll find yourself buried in a paragraph of dull text. For example:

If [Judy] was careless of [her husband's] affections, she was plainly jealous of his pocket. (2.4.43)

Basically, this is really good writing.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement