Monday, November 2, 2009

Dennis Lehane, Jane Austen, John Keats and Edith Wharton

Is Edith Wharton the Center of the Cultural Universe? Pondering this question and trying to reach an unbiased conclusion is one of The Mount's blog's principal reasons for existence. There may be some other contenders for the title, but proof that Mrs. Wharton is definitely in the running just keeps appearing, and one instance follows.

Dennis Lehane, author of some of the best novels to appear out of Massachusetts since Mrs. Wharton departed for France, was quoted in an interview which first appeared in 2005, but was recently reposted on

He has this to say "People always think it strange that I dig Edith Wharton. I can’t explain it myself, since I can’t stand Henry James and Wharton’s a direct literary descendent of his. There’s just something cool about the genteel savagery of her “violence.” It’s not the violence of a blow or a gunshot; it’s the violence of a well-placed whisper."

Dennis Lehane's novel Shutter Island is now being turned into a feature film, directed by Martin Scorsese, director of 1993's The Age of Innocence. What was that about the Center of the Cultural Universe?

Austen, Keats and of course Wharton used the English language in a timeless, dynamic and romantic way. The houses in which they lived haved proved to be equally timeless, and are all now house museums open to the public. The Financial Times recently published an article highlighting a number of writers' homes, and it is very interesting to see the similarities of The Mount's experience to those of British houses open to the public. Visit them (virtually) now:Janes Austen's House Museum and Keats House

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