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Haus Bellomont. Die verborgene Leidenschaft der Lily Bart. (1905)

von Edith Wharton

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen / Diskussionen
8,783186741 (4.03)1 / 762
The tragic story of a beautiful young woman caught up in the shallow and corrupt world of New York society at the turn of the century, where wealth and social status are everything.
  1. 110
    Stolz und Vorurteil von Jane Austen (SandSing7)
    SandSing7: Wharton is as American as Austen is British. Read both works for a comparitive "across the pond" view on the novel of manners.
  2. 71
    Bildnis einer Dame von Henry James (carlym)
  3. 11
    Der große Gatsby von F. Scott Fitzgerald (kara.shamy)
  4. 22
    Die Mühle am Floss von George Eliot (kara.shamy)
  5. 22
    Middlemarch: Eine Studie über das Leben in der Provinz von George Eliot (kara.shamy)
  6. 01
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Konemann Classics) von Thomas Hardy (Lapsus_Linguae)
    Lapsus_Linguae: Both novels depict an attractive young woman who becomes an outcast because of society's sexual mores.
  7. 01
    Schwester Carrie von Theodore Dreiser (kara.shamy)
Modernism (107)
Read (94)
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⚠️ spoilers

Ahh Lily…what am I to do with you?!lol She is both exasperating and tragic, but I didn’t fully get the “tragic” component the first time I read this book. I reread “The House of Mirth” because I panicked!lol Yepp…I looked at my TBR list and couldn’t figure out what to read, so I grabbed this one at random from my "read" shelves.

The first time I met Lily I just didn’t “get” her and she annoyed the crap out of me, I was too irritated to “think deep” and critically about her character. This time? She still exasperated the crap out of me (😂🙄), but I have sympathy for her and can better understand why she is the way she is.

Lily is not only a product of the high class NY society of the time, but also the trappings and emotional and psychological demands of her mother, who was never satisfied, squandered their wealth, and foisted all of her hopes of “returning” to their proper place on the “marketable” beauty of her daughter (as a hook to catch a wealthy suitor).

Her mother also foisted all of her despondency and dissatisfaction when things did not work out on Lily. What a horrible burden for a child…a young woman…to grow up thinking that all of her worth and value as a human being is tied up on her pretty face. Her mother also did Lily a disservice by raising her to think she was better than others (even the “rich” relatives she came to depend upon), so there is that constant thread of dissatisfaction and superiority in her dealings with others.

Lily needed to secure her financial security through an advantageous marriage and did everything she could to make it happen. She was beautiful and knew this was her “ticket” to secure a wealthy husband. Yet, whether consciously or not, she would self-sabotage at every turn. Like she said “Younger and plainer girls had been married off by dozens, and she was nine-and-twenty, and still Miss Bart.” This is the infuriating part about Lily. She “wants” money (“she knew she hated dinginess as much as her mother had hated it, and to her last breath she meant to fight against it, dragging herself up again and again above its flood till she gained the bright pinnacles of success which presented such a slippery surface to her clutch.”) and knows it will take work (and her beauty) but refuses suitors, makes mistakes, poor alliances, etc., which take her further away from her goals. Why? Is it that at heart, she does not want to be part of it? That she is trying to please her dead mother by becoming what she is expected to be? Does her emotionally distant father, who only served as an inadequate provider in her mother’s mind, failed her and she does not trust?
🖋These things are not fleshed out, which is what makes the writing so good and the reason I missed so much the first time around.

We get glimpses of her insight as to her unsuitability to be part of her “society.” There’s a section in the beginning where her relative, who is trying to “secure” Mr. Selden for Lily (or at least help Lily secure him) by keeping another woman (Bertha) away says: “Every one knows you’re a thousand times handsomer and cleverer than Bertha; but then you’re not nasty. And for always getting what she wants in the long run, commend me to a nasty woman.” This pretty much encapsulates Lily’s inability to “swim” in the toxic and competitive miasma of her high class world. She is unable to “sink” those around her, even to save herself and this is the tragic part. She could have ensured her own existence in that world, but she burned the letters. She could have married Selden but he was not rich enough. Never mind she kept digging a bigger hole with debts and decidedly stupid (I use this word sparingly but she should have seen the writing on the wall, hence my opinion as to self-sabotage) alliances resulting in ruination and getting further away from the “world” she craved.
.
This “money hunger,” insecurities, sense of superiority and her own inability to lower expectations combined with her lack of deviousness and meanness leads to an unsurprising end and the belated sad realizations by Selden. Lily may be contrary, entitled, and exasperating, but she was not “nasty” enough for her world. I missed that the first time I met her.😢 ( )
  Eosch1 | Jan 2, 2022 |
"She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate."

Lily Barton lives among the rich of New York City, the creme de la creme, yet she is not rich herself. She comes from a good family, has some rich relatives, yet she must rely on the good will of her friends, as well as her beautiful face, her charm, her wit, her ability to always do and say the "right" thing. Her mission in life is to find a rich man to marry, and her ability to do so is unquestioned. Yet she has somehow arrived at the age of 29 and is still unmarried. It seems that at the last minute before sealing the deal something always causes Lily to question whether marriage to a rich man is what she really wants. Then through a series of misteps Lily finds herself on the wrong side of society's arbiters, an outcast.
I first read this as a teenager, and remember loving it, but had no actual memory of the story. Wharton writes beautifully--I've always thought she was deserving of the Nobel in literature. Wharton was a member of the class that destroyed Lily, and she presents them to us warts and all.
This is one of her earliest books, and it is the book that established her literary reputation, as well as being one of the three or four most read/most famous of her works. Some of the themes of her earlier works are fully developed here. It is an exquisite book and it deserves a place in the literary canon. This is one of the rare books I think everyone should read.

Highly recommended
5 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Dec 30, 2021 |
57. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
editing: editor: Janet Beer, advisor: Keith Carabine
published: 1905
format: 306-page Wordsworth Classic paperback, published 2002
acquired: September
read: Oct 27 – Nov 16
time reading: 16:32, 3.2 mpp
rating: 5
locations: New York and a stop at Monte Carlo, Monaco.
about the author: 1862-1937. Born Edith Newbold Jones on West 23rd Street, New York City. Spent most of her writing life in France.

I'm working through Wharton's longer fiction with a group on Litsy, and this is her fourth work, and second novel. It's also her first really successful work, an instant big seller in 1905, and now a classic. And it's a wonderful novel. Wharton attacks the culture of New York City's extremely wealth leisure class through fall of Lily Bart. Raised by wealthy parents, Lily's father hit financial ruin, and was basically discarded at that point by her mother. But Lily's mother sees potential in Lily's face, she thinks Lily can marry back into money.

When the novel opens Lily is 29 and still single. And we watch as she plots for marriage and then doesn't carry her plots through. The reader is left to wonder what is going on. Lily is clearly the master of the moment in any setting. She's gorgeous and fluid in higher culture, and attractive on several levels. And, supported by her childless aunt, she has just enough money to stay in that culture, and enough fortitude to keep her financial stresses out of public view and out of her outward character. All she needs is a rich husband, which should be a reasonable object for her. There are offers. But it seems what Lily wants may not want what she thinks she wants. Or there are some contradictions. It many ways this novel is a version of [Pride and Prejudice] without the happy ending. Ultimately Lily is left to the fate of her name, a flower drifting in the current, maybe even a cut flower, subject to greater and darker forces. She maybe doesn't fully realize the stakes in the kind of money she mixing with, where $10,000 is disposable, an equivalent of over $300,000 in 2021 dollars.

The cultural expose is likely what originally drew readers to this novel. Wharton was part of this leisure class and was writing what she knew. But it's the writing that makes this book still work today. She was masterful with characters, with witty insight and with situational moments. This novel largely jumps from situation-to-situation (with transitions), many with one-on-one conversations of memorable intensity. It makes for an entertaining and meaningful novel. I imagine this one has broad appeal, so recommended to anyone interested.

2021
https://www.librarything.com/topic/333774#7664261 ( )
  dchaikin | Nov 26, 2021 |
I read long ago in college and recalled Lily Barts name and little else. Upon this re-read, what finely crafted work.
And still to many parallels to today. I had thought of a friend to recommend reading this, but thought the similarities too strong and that she might find this depressing.

Librivox ( )
1 abstimmen jimgosailing | Nov 18, 2021 |
Amazing. I loved it more than I loved Age of Innocence. I pitied Lily Bart because she made such poor decisions to be part of a society that was so shallow. She was also way too flighty for her own good. ( )
1 abstimmen RakishaBPL | Sep 24, 2021 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (129 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Wharton, EdithHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Bawden, NinaEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Beer, JanetHerausgeberCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Bron, EleanorErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Brookner, AnitaEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Carabine, KeithHerausgeberCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Caruso, BarbaraErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Cheshire, GerardMitwirkenderCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Fields, AnnaErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Lewis, R. W. B.EinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
McCaddon, WandaErzählerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Pirè, LucianaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Wenzell, A. B.IllustratorCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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The tragic story of a beautiful young woman caught up in the shallow and corrupt world of New York society at the turn of the century, where wealth and social status are everything.

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