Inventing the Real

Inventing the Real


Edith Wharton and Henry James
An Edith Wharton and Henry James pairing explores "reality" in two classic tales.

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Paperback Edition
Publication Date: 07-01-2008

"The Old Maid" and "The Real Thing"
Introduction by Mary Ann Caws

Cousins vie for the affection of an illegitimate child in Edith Wharton's surprisingly explicit novella. Henry James explores reality and illusion when a painter hires two upper-class models. The pairing examines class and gender expectation versus actual experience.

"This remarkable volume is . . . a small treasure." —Brenda Wineapple, author of Hawthorne: A Life

"The inimitable Edith Wharton and her friend, the unerring Henry James—their ironies pristine as ever—[produce]: brilliant satires pitting convention and patent-leather against the moral complexity of the human heart." —Brenda Wineapple, author of White Heat

"There is something deeply adventurous about these works. . . . Both Wharton and James hold our attention, unceasingly, by opposing forces, male and female, and more subtly, by the counterfoils." —Mary Ann Caws, from the Introduction

"This elegant and insightful series of little books could easily function as mandatory reading in a college course on women's studies or comparative literature . . . 'The Old Maid' and 'The Real Thing' . . . are every bit as skillful and nuanced as the best of their works, but until now they have bafflingly resided off the beaten path. Hats off to The Feminist Press for reissuing these often overlooked masterpieces." —Tony Bonds