By Edith Wharton
Encouraged via a tender guy Edith Wharton met in the course of her war relief paintings in France, A Son on the Front(1923) opens in Paris on July 30, 1914, as Europe totters close to warfare.
Expatriate American painter John Campton, whose in simple terms son George, having been born in Paris, needs to document for responsibility within the French army, struggles to maintain his son clear of front while grappling with the ethical implications of his actions. A poignant meditation on paintings and ownership, fidelity and responsibility, A Son on the Front is Wharton’s indelible tackle the conflict novel.
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Extra info for A Son at the Front (Library of America)
She even makes charitable albeit ineffectual overtures toward Coverdale. Thus, the creative potential of love, as mediated through Zenobia's quasi-mythic womanhood, never comes to bloom at Blithedale. Despite Hawthorne's suspicions of feminist ideology, this blight results largely from male deficiencies: from fears of involvement and eroticism on the part of Coverdale, from controlling ambitions on the part of Hollingsworth and Westervelt. Coverdale will ultimately profess to desire, if that is the right word, a fireside goddess like Priscilla rather than Zenobia, who confronts him with the life force of eternal womanhood.
39 Only briefly does Kenyon celebrate the return of divine womanhood represented in the Venusian goddess. Similarly, Kenyon had earlier shown himself capable of letting the queenly, divinely passionate womanhood of Cleopatra burn into marble through his own artistry, though almost despite himself. But he fails to respond sympathetically to Miriam when this real-life, full-bodied version of queenly womanhood visits his studio. Like Miriam herself, then, the emblematic figurine of Venus remains "Donatello's prize" (427).
The angel and apostle of the coming revelation must be a woman, indeed, but lofty, pure, and beautiful; and wise, moreover, not through dusky grief, but the ethereal medium of joy; and showing how sacred love should make us happy, by the truest test of a life successful to such an end! (263) But could a "mission of divine and mysterious truth" rest upon a woman "burdened with a life-long sorrow" if not sin? One would certainly suppose so, judging from the case of Christianity's Mother of Sorrows.