On Wharton’s “Twilight Sleep”

Writing in the New Atlantis, Cheryl Miller makes a case for Edith Wharton‘s much-maligned 1927 novel, Twilight Sleep, which was one of the inspirations for Brave New World:

Wharton’s critics may have accused her of being detached from modern American life, but she remained a keen, if disapproving, observer of modes and fashions. She stashed away stacks of news clippings and advertisements heralding the newest detergent or latest scientific “breakthrough.” Twilight Sleep is stuffed with these researches, with Pauline sampling every 1920s fad: psychoanalysis, New Age spiritualism, self-help books, consumer science, drugs, plastic surgery, and, of course, eugenics. “America really seemed to have an immediate answer for everything,” Pauline thinks, “from the treatment of the mentally deficient to the elucidation of the profoundest religious mysteries.”

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