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Have you ever questioned the long shuttered front of an old Italian house, that motionless mask, smooth, mute, equivocal as the face of a priest behind which buzz the secrets of the confessional? Lire la première page
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Another Wonderful Collection 29 avril 2009
Par Dave_42 - Publié sur
Format: Broché
"Crucial Instances" is the second collection of short fiction from Edith Wharton and was published on March 30th of 1901. This book consists of six works of short fiction, and one dialogue, most of which had been published previously in magazines, but there is also a previously unpublished story, "The Confessional", included as well. The contents included the following:

"The Duchess at Prayer" - Published originally in "Scribner's Magazine" in August of 1900. An old man who works at an estate no longer frequented by the Duke, relates the story of how the Duchess' statue changed. It is a story that he heard from his grandmother, who witnessed the event. The story has a very gothic feel and could easily have been written by Edgar Allen Poe.

"The Angel at the Grave" - Published originally in "Scribner's Magazine" in February of 1901. Paulina decides to preserve her grandfather's papers and the facts surrounding his greatness and in that endeavour she devotes her life. Eventually she decides to publish a biography of his life, but when it is at last complete the publisher informs her that his fame has faded and will not publish it. She feels that her life has been wasted, when a young man visits her and is interested in her father's papers for an entirely different reason.

"The Recovery" - Published originally in "Harper's Magazine" in February of 1901. Kensington is a celebrated American painter in certain circles. But is he really a good artist, or is it hype by those who think they know art. When he gets a chance to have his paintings shown in Europe, there is an opportunity to see the old masters as well as see how others view his art.

"Copy: A Dialogue" - Published originally in "Scribner's Magazine in June of 1900. Mrs. Ambrose Dale - a successful writer at the top of her form, and Mr. Paul Ventnor - a successful poet who is now retired, become reacquainted after a long time. They were once lovers, and each has kept the letters they received from the other, and both have done so for a similar reason.

"The Rembrandt" - Published originally in "Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan" in August of 1900. A wonderful story, in which the narrator is in charge of finding pieces of art for a museum. He is approached by his cousin to look at an unsigned Rembrandt which is owned by Mrs. Fontage, a woman who is near destitute. He realizes immediately that it is not worth anything, but can't break her heart and tells her that it is worth $1,000. When Mr. Jefferson Rose, a young man who is far from rich, talks to him about buying the piece he warns him that it isn't actually worth anything, but Mr. Rose is still willing to go ahead with it because he likes the painting and wants to help Mrs. Fontage. He can't allow Mr. Rose to waste his money either, so he buys the piece for the museum, knowing that the person who would be most likely to question it, Mr. Crozier, is away. When Mr. Crozier returns after six months, there are other pieces which the narrator believes Crozier will focus on, but Crozier is aware of the "Rembrandt" and comes to talk to him about it.

"The Moving Finger" - Published originally in "Harper's Magazine" in March of 1901. This story reminds one of "The Picture of Dorian Grey", though with a few differences. Here we have a man, Ralph Grancy who remarries after a failed marriage a woman whom he loves very deeply. A friend, Claydon, paints her picture so well that Mr. Grancy is very taken with it. When Mrs. Graney dies, Mr. Grancy first goes away for several years, but when he returns he has Claydon alter the picture to bring his wife closer to what she would look like if she were still alive.

"The Confessional" - First published in this volume. This is the longest story in the volume, and it is told by an Italian priest, Don Egidio, who has come to America and is telling the story of a great friend of his to the narrator. The story includes the tale of why Don Egidio came to America, as well as why his friend also came.

This is a great collection of stories, from those with a bit of a horror feel, to ones which just make the reader feel good. This collection is even better than her first collection, and that is not an easy task. This one earns its five stars.
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