Edith Wharton's irony : from the short stories to the infinitudes

Cardinal Scholar

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Trimmer, Joseph F. en_US
dc.contributor.author Brown, Mary M. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2011-06-03T19:23:36Z
dc.date.available 2011-06-03T19:23:36Z
dc.date.created 1990 en_US
dc.date.issued 1990
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 1990 .B7 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/handle/handle/175266
dc.description.abstract Although Edith Wharton is finally recognized as a major American novelist, her remarkable canon of short stories has been largely ignored. Such neglect is regrettable, for the diversity of the stories suggests that some common perceptions of Wharton may well be misconceptions: that her works are masterpieces of technique, but not content; that her inconsistency reflects an instability; that her works are pervaded with a repressing pessimism. The short stories evoke a reconsideration of these prevailing attitudes about Wharton and her art.The stories reinforce the critics' evaluation of Edith Wharton as a master of rhetorical strategy. She employs verbal irony and situational irony. She also focuses closely on the ironies in American society, particularly those associated with the upper class, with marriage, and with art. But Wharton's conscious and pervasive use of irony in the stories points to the fact that she is a philosopher of irony as well.The philosophy of irony -- a philosophy of constant revisionism, questioning, and subjunctivity, of the rejection of absolutes, and of the celebration of paradox and ambivalence -- is one which reconciles many of the conflicts both in Wharton's short stories and in her life. It accounts for Wharton's insistence in her letters and her autobiography of the possibilities of life and for the optimism and hope that are clearly demonstrated in the stories. Despite the conclusions that have traditionally been drawn by critics who have focused on Wharton the novelist, the stories reinforce what the life has also suggested: that Edith Wharton actually achieved transcendence, hope, and joy.Chapter Five of this study reevaluates Ethan Frome, often considered Wharton's most pessimistic novel, in light of her philosophic irony. It challenges the commonly held notion that Ethan Frome is only a technical success, assuming the position that technique and vision cannot be separated. It finds in the ambivalence of the book an acknowledgment of possibility -- tones of optimism, triumph, and celebration. Furthermore, this dissertation suggests that a second look, with an eye toward Wharton's philosophy of irony as well as her techniques of irony, is warranted for each of the novels. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent iii, 174 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Irony in literature. en_US
dc.subject.other Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937 -- Criticism and interpretation. en_US
dc.subject.other Wharton, Edith 1862-1937 -- Technique. en_US
dc.title Edith Wharton's irony : from the short stories to the infinitudes en_US
dc.description.degree Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url http://liblink.bsu.edu/catkey/720141 en_US

Files in this item

Files Size Format View

There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Doctoral Dissertations [3194]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

Show simple item record

Search Cardinal Scholar


My Account