"You just stood there and watched": The Transformative Power of a Woman’s Withholding in Edith Wharton’s Sanctuary

Parsons, Isabelle (2021). "You just stood there and watched": The Transformative Power of a Woman’s Withholding in Edith Wharton’s Sanctuary. Edith Wharton Review, 37(2) pp. 151–167.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5325/editwharrevi.37.2.0151

Abstract

Edith Wharton’s Sanctuary was long dismissed for want of a convincing plot and heroine, but the novella has been shown to reward focused inquiry. It may be read, among other things, as a revealing, early example of Wharton’s uses of secrets and silences to portray women’s lives. Withholding would become a central feature of her writing, and the topic of women, one of her enduring artistic interests. This article examines Sanctuary’s fictional and textual secrets, as well as the roles of silences with reference to the numerous instances of vigil-keeping in the novella. It finds Wharton exploring acts of withholding by a woman and imbuing them with a significant power to transform others, so subverting the historical silences and silencing of women.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Metrics

Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions

Export

About

Recommendations