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Madame de Treymes (Penguin 60s) by Edith…

Madame de Treymes (Penguin 60s) (original 1907; edition 1995)

by Edith Wharton

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Title:Madame de Treymes (Penguin 60s)
Authors:Edith Wharton
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1995), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 96 pages
Collections:Your library, To read (inactive)

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Madame de Treymes by Edith Wharton (1907)



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His sense of strangeness was increased by the surprise of his companion's next speech.
You wish to marry my sister-in-law?" she asked abruptly; and Durham's start of wonder was followed by an immediate feeling of relief. He had expected the preliminaries of their interview to be as complicated as the bargaining in an Eastern bazaar, and had feared to lose himself at the first turn in a labyrinth of “foreign” intrigue.

I started my year of reading Edith Wharton with this novella, first published in a magazine in 1906, because it was the only one of her books on the shelf last time I went to the library. The copy I read has large print, wide borders and several blank pages between chapters, and it's still a slim book that didn't take much more than an hour to read.

The story is about a straightforward and honourable American man who wishes to marry the estranged American wife of an aristocratic Frenchman. Although long separated from her husband, Madame de Malrive is sure that her husband's family will find a way to prevent her from getting a divorce, even though as a Protestant it is not against her religion, and she enlists her sister-in-law Madame de Treymes to help persuade the rest of the family.

It's not much of a spoiler to say that things do not go well for the protagonist. It is obvious from the beginning that the marriage will never happen, and the publishers of my book quote a review on the back cover that gives it away too. I think that the strength of this novella lies in the gloomy atmosphere and the weight of tradition and family hanging over Madame de Malrive, rather than the plot. ( )
  isabelx | Jan 22, 2016 |
This novella of Edith Wharton's is a gem! In a mere 87 pages a saga unfolds. It is a saga of character, a saga of cultural identities clashing, and a saga of the meaning of love. Excellent! ( )
  hemlokgang | Dec 12, 2010 |
I read this short novel (really a novella in spite of the fact that it has chapters) as an introduction to Edith Wharton's work. I chose poorly. The plot is interesting enough, concerning a gentleman who wants to marry an American woman living in Paris. The only problem is, she's separated from her current husband, and his family will not consent to a divorce so she can marry again. The novel is restrained, understated, and turn-of-the-century. And those are all bad things in this case. The characters make you feel like they are not real people -- that they are actors playing the part of characters in a book. If that sounds weird, it's on purpose. If you have never read Wharton before, this is not a good introduction to her work. If you have read and enjoyed other Wharton works, give this one a pass -- you haven't missed anything. ( )
  timeenuf | Jul 7, 2010 |
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John Durham, while he waited for Madame de Malrive to draw on her gloves, stood in the hotel doorway looking out across the Rue de Rivoli at the afternoon brightness of the Tuileries garden.
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This is a short work containing the single novella Madame de Treymes. Please do not combine it with the Virago or other editions which contain three other novellas as well. (One edition here has a mismatch between the title Madame de Treymes (Penguin 60s) and the ISBN 1844083586, which is one for the Virago edition and is pulling in an incorrect Virago cover. It seems best to leave it here.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0146000153, Paperback)

Edith Wharton's "Madame de Treymes" is a remarkable example of the form. It is the story of the tactical defeat but moral victory of an honest and upstanding American in his struggle to win a wife from a tightly united but feudally minded French aristocratic family. He loses, but they cheat. . . . In a masterpiece of brevity, Wharton dramatizes the contrast between the two opposing forces: the simple and proper old brownstone New York, low in style but high in principle, and the achingly beautiful but decadent Saint-Germain district of Paris. The issue is seamlessly joined.

Louis Auchincloss in the "Wall Street Journal," 2006

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:53 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A captivating portrait of a clash of cultures and the role of women in society, this is the story of two young innocents abroad Fanny Frisbee, a young woman enduring an unhappy marriage, and John Durham, her childhood friend who arrives in Paris hoping to convince Fanny to divorce her husband and marry him.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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