Short story: “The Recovery”

by look i have opinions

“The Recovery,” by Edith Wharton

Appeared in Harper’s in February 1901 (subscribers can read here); collected in Crucial Instances (on Project Gutenberg and audio on Librivox); also found online here

7,026 words

Very struck by this story. I can’t decide whether the ending is a happy one for Claudia or a be-careful-what-you-wish-for kind of thing. Having married a self-satisfied Artist, she now finds herself married to an actual artist, a poor one, and at the beginning of his career. On the other hand, she does share some of his vision and ambition. “She could have wept for joy at his exquisite obtuseness”: what a strange line. Maybe it’s exquisite and joyous because it shows her how true an artist he is?

This and “The Angel at the Grave” (from the same collection) remind me of Henry James a lot—so much obsessing over the interpretations and reputations of great works. Haven’t finished Crucial Instances yet.

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