The Valley of Decision

  • Janet Goodwyn


Wharton’s choice of subject for her first full-length fiction — the Italian eighteenth century — enabled her to establish, for herself, a writer’s sense of the importance of place, both historical and geographical, and also a sense of her own relation to other artists, other cultures. Writing about a period of great social change at a distance from her own personal experience in The Valley of Decision, she was actually empowered to formulate a coherent idea of her own situation as an artist, and particularly as a woman artist, in turn-of-the-century America.


Figurative Language Italian Subject Independent View American Audience Coherent Idea 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Edith Wharton, A Backward Glance (New York: 1934; rpt. London: Constable, 1972), p. 69.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Henry James, William Wetmore Story and His Friends (London: Thames & Hudson, 1903), Chapter One.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Edith Wharton, The Valley of Decision (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902), p. 148.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Ellen Moers, Literary Women (1963; rpt. London: Women’s Press, 1978), p. 200.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Gordon S. Haight, George Eliot: A Biography (Oxford, 1968; rpt. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 345.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing ( London: Virago, 1982 ), pp. 43–4.Google Scholar
  7. 15.
    Georg Lukács, The Historical Novel, trans. Hannah and Stanley Mitchell (London: Peregrine Books, 1969), p. 38.Google Scholar
  8. 21.
    Edith Wharton, Italian Backgrounds (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905), p. 128.Google Scholar
  9. 25.
    Sir Walter Scott, Waverley (London, 1814; rpt. London: Penguin Books, 1972), p. 492.Google Scholar
  10. 30.
    Edith Wharton, Italian Villas and Their Gardens (London: John Lane, Bodley Head, 1904), p. 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Janet Patricia Goodwyn 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Goodwyn

There are no affiliations available

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