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Word for the Wise January 24, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Edith Wharton and National Compliment Day

Today we celebrate both the birth anniversary of Edith Wharton and National Compliment Day. The idea behind National Compliment Day is that participants pass along a compliment—an admiring remark—to at least five people. The idea behind remembering writer Edith Wharton is just as admirable, but we found it a bit of a challenge to come up with Whartonian compliments. (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

Sure, the writer respected for her heartbreakingly precise depiction of turn-of-the-century New York society life and the cold bitterness of an unhappy life in rural New England did pen some words of praise for her fellow writer and friend Henry James. Edith Wharton observed: "To…[his] intimates…these elaborate hesitancies, far from being an obstacle, were like a cobweb bridge flung from his mind to theirs, an invisible passage over which one knew that silver-footed ironies, veiled jokes, tiptoe malices, were stealing to explode a huge laugh at one's feet."

But her compliments were rare. When the expatriate stopped at an American hotel after her car broke down, Edith Wharton had this to say about the experience: "such whining callow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, crass manners…what a horror it is for a whole nation to be developing without a sense of beauty, and eating bananas for breakfast."

 
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