The Reef

  • Title: The Reef
  • Author: Edith Wharton
  • ISBN: 9780192823199
  • Page: 327
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Reef When The Reef appeared in reviewers found Edith Wharton s story of American expatriates in France sordid and even shocking but Henry James considered it unequivocally her finest novel Obliquely
    When The Reef appeared in 1912, reviewers found Edith Wharton s story of American expatriates in France sordid and even shocking but Henry James considered it unequivocally her finest novel Obliquely but intensely autobiographical, The Reef explores Wharton s ambivalent sense of both her newly adopted country and her unexpectedly awakened sexuality The story focusesWhen The Reef appeared in 1912, reviewers found Edith Wharton s story of American expatriates in France sordid and even shocking but Henry James considered it unequivocally her finest novel Obliquely but intensely autobiographical, The Reef explores Wharton s ambivalent sense of both her newly adopted country and her unexpectedly awakened sexuality The story focuses on George Darrow, an American diplomat in love with the recently widowed Anna Leath On his way from London to visit her in France, Darrow finds himself accompanying Sophy Viner, a young American he has known in the past, on the way to Paris The prologue to the novel is a novella in itself, a minutely rendered anatomy of social ambiguity, and one of Wharton s greatest achievements The implications of those ten days in Paris inform the remainder of the novel, as Darrow s, Anna s and Sophy s lives become increasingly and intricately interdependent.I put most of myself into that opus, Edith Wharton said of The Reef, possibly her most autobiographical novel Published in 1912, it was, Bernard Berenson told Henry Adams, better than any previous work excepting Ethan Frome.

    • The Reef By Edith Wharton
      327 Edith Wharton
    • thumbnail Title: The Reef By Edith Wharton
      Posted by:Edith Wharton
      Published :2019-02-08T01:14:01+00:00

    About Edith Wharton


    1. Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase keeping up with the Joneses The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family s return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island Edith s creativity and talent soon became obvious By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, as well as witty reviews of it and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success Many of Wharton s novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society Wharton s first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton s reputation as an important novelist Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F Scott Fitzgerald, Andr Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.In 1913 Edith divorced Edward She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937 She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France Barnesandnoble


    945 Comments


    1. ”In every nerve and vein she was conscious of that equipoise of bliss which the fearful human heart scarce dares acknowledge. She was not used to strong or full emotions; but she had always known that she should not be afraid of them. She was not afraid now; but she felt a deep inward stillness.”I've always really liked this photo of Edith Wharton.No one was more surprised than George Darrow when the girl he was wooing married Fraser Leath. He may have dallied a bit. He may have flirted with [...]

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    2. This is Wharton’s fifth novel. Published in 1912, it is considered, together with the previous Ethan Frome and the subsequent The Custom of the Country, as partly autobiographical. Not so much in deeds as in spirit. As I know very little about her life, I cannot agree nor disagree with this. Rather than engage in searching for the parallels between real life and its representation through a literary disguise, I was more interested in the dynamics of the plot, since it becomes the dynamics of h [...]

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    3. Wharton doing what she does so well, exploring the human condition and how the classes interact with one another when the artificial lines collapse. I loved this complex story that asked so many moving, and always pertinent, questions. A gentleman has a brief encounter with a girl who does not rise to his level, he is motivated by good intentions, but things become much more complicated than he expects. When she resurfaces in his life, will he have to pay too high a price for his mistake? Or, wi [...]

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    4. "Morty," Edie said, "if you can do that again, I'll get naked !"What was EWs lover Morton Fullerton like ? In hermost autobiographical novel he appears as GeorgeDarrow, an aspiring diplomat who has a casual flingwith a young American woman while waiting for thewidowed Anna Leath (EW) to decide if she wants to marry him. The ambivalent Anna lives behind a socialmask outside of Paris but she can't shake off her OldeNew York upbringing. Her controlling nature is disturbedby his sexuality. Henry Jam [...]

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    5. Young diplomat George Darrow is on his way to meet Anna Leath, an old girlfriend who is now a widow with a young daughter and a grown stepson. When Anna abruptly postpones their rendezvous without explanation, Darrow concludes that she is no longer interested in him. A chance meeting with Sophy Viner leads to their brief affair. Unfortunately, the lives of Darrow, Anna, Sophy and Anna's stepson Owen become linked and the extremely discreet sexual relationship between Darrow and Sophy complicates [...]

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    6. This is supposed to be Wharton's Jamesian book.whatever that means. Probably, it's the convoluted plotting in which all is NOT revealed until the endd then, we "Dear Readers" are treated to the weirdest ending in years. Anna, major female protagonist, visits the blowsy sister of the woman her fiance' has "known" in the biblical sense. Ensconced in a huge pink bed with those annoying barky dogs around her, this parody of who knows what is the last vision Wharton paints. Anna has been struggling w [...]

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    7. I love Edith Wharton’s New York novels, and I teach Ethan Frome, so I was delighted to recently come across a book of hers I’d never heard of, The Reef. It is neither a New York novel nor a New England one, like Frome and its counterpart Summer, though one of The Reef’s main characters, Sophy Viner, reminds one of Summer’s heroine. After I finished the novel, I was nonplussed – what had just happened? -- so I did a little research. I found it is considered Wharton’s most “Jamesian [...]

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    8. Edith Wharton's The Reef was written in 1912 when she was essentially at her very best as a novelist, and I think her powers are quite evident in this engaging tale. Also, this is a very theatrical story that I personally think would lend itself very well to a stage adaptation. The book could just as easily have been entitled, The Chateau, as basically three-quarters of the novel takes place within the confines of Mrs Anna Leath's French estate, Givre.This is the story of romantic relationships, [...]

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    9. At the top of the box to write a review is the question "What did you think"? At some point during my reading of any book, phrases start running through my head as to what I do think about what I'm reading. I laughed at myself in this one. The question in school was always "and what do you think will happen next". I was so poor at this type of prognostication that I rarely even try, but I did try in this one. My surmises were wrong. And then they were right. And then they were wrong again. Maybe [...]

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    10. The Reef was beautifully written, subtle and tense. We have for our story a simple drama between two sets of lovers. But the undercurrents of distrust, passion, secrets, loyalties and lies pull the story along inexorably.Darrow, on his way to propose to the woman he has been courting, encounters an appealing young woman very unlike most women he knows. Sophy is direct, unabashed, self-sufficient and outspoken, but also very vulnerable. He takes her under his wing, so to speak, and introduces her [...]

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    11. The Reef, Edith Wharton’s eighth novel and published in 1912, is a book that couldn’t possibly have been written today. Its subject matter is so dated that I found myself quite exasperated with its central character, Anna Leath because I cannot imagine any contemporary 30-something woman getting so worked up about a suitor’s ‘past experience’. However, despite the disproportionate angst that forms the novel’s raison d’être, The Reef is a fascinating exploration of trust – how ea [...]

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    12. It has been a while since I read anything by Wharton, but the elegance and perceptiveness of her writing immediately became familiar. There are 4 main characters who Wharton portrays through minute observations of their automatic responses: physical gestures, changes in their physiognomy (blushing, paling), tone of voice, physical position in a room,the weather/sunlight as reflection of interior moods, etc. This is finest example of an author showing not explaining, and leaving readers to draw t [...]

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    13. This is one of Wharton's best, tightly plotted, excellent characterization, and extremely painful emotional impact. Louis Auchincloss, who wrote the introduction to my edition, spectacularly misreads nearly everything about the novel. His statement that Wharton's "hero" is Darrow is belied by Wharton's obvious disgust with him for most of the work; Darrow, after all, lies and otherwise does his best to avoid responsibility for the lives he has ruined by his thoughtless actions at the beginning o [...]

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    14. I love Edith Wharton, but this book was terrible! I was curious as to why it could be so bad, so I read a bit about it. She wrote it during a time when she was very unhappy in her marriage. The character Anna is said to be based on the author, and Sophy based on her alter ego. That being said, the writing was overdone with too many adjectives, too much whining, not enough plot. It was sooooo drawn out, I just couldn't wait for it to end to see what would happen to these miserable characters! Thi [...]

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    15. So lets explore issues like unfaithfulness in relationships and lets discuss how past actions can affect our current lives and how our actions sometimes affect others or lets just read 'The Reef' by Edith WhartonThe widowed Anna Leath meets her old flame George Darrow who intends to marry her, but what she doesn't know is that George met her daughter's governess and had a fling with her, and to complicate it a whole lot more this governess Sophie, should be marrying her stepson, etc, etcI wont g [...]

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    16. Jamesians: why on earth have you not read this book?

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    17. "Тя беше като картина, закачена така, че можеше да бъде разгледана само под определен ъгъл – ъгъл, който не бе известен на никого другиго, освен на нейния притежател" "Рифът" Едит Уортън

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    18. On audiobook. There's a paradox that is still alive and well today in some circles, and I found it infuriating in this book, which seems to me, although the author didn't intend it that way, like a long, subtly written argument in favor of human beings accepting their sexual nature. Here's the paradox: sex isn't supposed to matter. So when you're going to get married, you don't take your intended for a test drive, because you're really in love, and it's "just sex". But then, if someone has sex w [...]

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    19. With her customary elegant, understated prose, Wharton demonstrates that, as much as relationships between the sexes have changed in a century, people continue to be the same.Sophy is not quite the same level of tragedy as Wharton's better-known Lily Bart, but there's some similarities here. Wharton was acutely aware of the lack of options available to a gently-reared woman without a family to protect her. Anna, on the other hand, shows the ignorance that protection fosters. It’s a Wharton boo [...]

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    20. The Reef is possibly one of Edith Wharton’s lesser known novels, but according to Anita Brookner in her introduction to my Penguin Twentieth Century Classics edition was written during her most brilliantly creative period. In 1910 Edith Wharton’s affair with journalist Morton Fullerton had ended, and it would appear that he is present here, in some respect at least, in the character of George Darrow. The Reef is apparently the novel of Wharton’s most admired by Henry James, and is said to [...]

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    21. Like many other reviewers, I found the ending disconcertingly abrupt, largely because I felt so invested in the characters. No-one ends up happy, but that's what lying and deception do for you. The unravelling is beautifully done, showing not telling, and she beats Henry James at his own game by writing in a less convoluted style than even his middle works. For me, as good as if not better the The Age of Innocence, and certainly better the The House of Mirth.

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    22. A very interesting and thought-provoking, and sometimes just plain provoking, story. Wharton seems to be warning readers to beware what they wish for, their wish may be granted. Anna Leath senses she has been missing out on "life", that others experience things more fully than she has, and she longs to "feel" things in a deeper way. She gets her wish with a vengeance as she takes up with an old friend, George Darrow, when they meet again after a long gap of years. He and Anna had been attracted [...]

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    23. Ever since The Age of Innocence, I've been looking for another book like it. My hope is that it would come from Edith Whartonbut that has not happened. I hated The House of Mirth - talk about false advertising. Summer is pretty good but depressing. This book is the only one that has come somewhat close, where I felt the connection to the characters. However, there were all the same problems with all of Edith Wharton's novels. Characters who can't make up their mind about a damn thing. Flippity f [...]

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    24. The Reef is a fascinating character study where the tension comes from the development of an impossible situation. George Darrow comes to France to be with the woman he has loved for years and intends to marry, Anna Leith. When he arrives, he is discovers that an old lover of his, Sophy Viner, is the governess to Anna’s daughter, as well as the betrothed of Anna’s stepson—and therein lies the impossibility. The past affair between Sophy and George begins to be an unbearably heavy and unwie [...]

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    25. A heartbroken Anna asks her boyfriend, "How can there be a 'best' for you that's made of someone else's worst?"Anna also says to a young floozie, "You'd no right to let Owen love you."Anna's boyfriend, George Darrow "The Darrow she worshiped was inseparable from the Darrow she abhorred."Promiscuity—Anna cannot tolerate thinking about "such things," "such adventures!" She cannot imagine how anyone could "pass out of them without more visible traces of their havoc?" aaaahhh! ermagherd! They rubb [...]

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    26. I think this story is the Lancelot, Guinevere, Arthur story: Darrow is Lancelot, Sophie is Guinevere and Anna is Arthur (in the sense of their moral and psychological states, but also in action, because Darrow brings Sophie to Anna and on the way finds himself attracted to her). But it is much more subtle than the ancient story because the characters often don't say what they really feel and so the story is more complicated. And it is also complicated by the fact of a fourth character, Owen, who [...]

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    27. Anna Leath viene da un matrimonio freddo ed incarna i canoni altrettanto aridi di una rigida educazione impartita sin dall'infanzia. Questo almeno fino a quando non rivede George Darrow, un amore passato. Ma poi insorge la giovane Sophy Viner, che in netta contrapposizione con Anne coinvolge tutto ciò che è caldo candore, e innocente passione. Per questo triangolo, che è tutto meno che ménage per ovvi motivi, la scogliera del titolo è l'ostacolo/scoglio che impervio si frappone tra la felic [...]

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    28. If you're looking for a real ending, this is not the book for you. But I think it works. You end up feeling the same conflict as Anna Leath. Darrow is an interesting character in that he discloses information when necessary and with sincere regrets when appropriate, but he also withholds information with a frank belief that it's best left so. At one point Anna asks to know everything about an affair, but he turns her down with the statement that it would only cause her pain and further conflict. [...]

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    29. Wharton again analyzes the plight of upper-class women in the early 1900s, when social mores were changing quickly. The two principal women in this novel--Anna, the intended bride of George Darrow, and Sophy, the younger girl he had a brief fling with in Paris before he became serious with Anna--exert a lot of tears and hand-wringing over what would be a non-issue these days (a brief sexual tryst that occurred well before any betrothal). The whole thing comes across more soap opera-ish than some [...]

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    30. Edith Wharton is amazing. And I only had to look up about 65 words while reading this one, which is a respectable number considering how impressive her literary vocabulary is. From her immaculate characterizations of George Darrow, Anna Leith and Sophy Viner to the subtle descriptions of both the hotel where 'the action' occurs and Givré, this book is a masterpiece from start to finish.I wish I could have finished it somewhat quicker than in seven weeks.But so it goes. The House of Mirth is sti [...]

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