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The Touchstone Hardcover – July 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Aegypan (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598183737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598183733
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones in 1862 in New York City, into a socially prominent family whose wealth came from real estate holdings. She was discouraged from an interest in writing by her mother, who forbid her reading contemporary literature. but in 1878, a family friend passed along some of her poems to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who championed them for publication. She went on to maintain an unusual degree of independence despite marrying Edward Wharton, whom she divorced 30 years later. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (for her novel The Age of Innocence). Wharton died in France in 1937. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Because I am adapting this novella for Warner Bros as a feature film, I'm interested in hearing what readers have to say about it. This is Wharton's first novella, written at a time when she was still developing her craft as a writer; the story can appear woefully underwritten. Still, the story is mesmerizing and dangerous, a Faustian tale of betrayal, greed and the consequences paid, and the more often I read through it, the more hidden meanings emerge. When you read it, think of the lover who sold Princess Diana's first secrets of their affair to the tabloids, and the consequences since. What ever happened to that man? Perhaps, like Stephen Glennard in "The Touchstone", he has gone mad from guilt, which, ironically enough, might prove he has a conscious after all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dave_42 on February 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Touchstone" is Edith Wharton's second book and it was published in 1900. It was also published under the title "A Gift From The Grave". Her previous literary effort was a collection of short stories titled "The Greater Inclination" and this is a longer story, roughly what we would today call a novella. The author takes an interesting premise, and creates an engaging story which is easy to read and flows quickly. The reader doesn't want to put this book down.

The premise of the story is that a man (Glennard) of limited means is looking for a way to earn money so that he can afford to marry the woman he loves (Alexa Trent). Earlier in his life, he was loved by Mrs. Aubyn, who has become a famous author and since died. Thus he is in possession of the letters she wrote him, and due to her fame he could publish them, but that would not be proper in his mind, and he feels that he would not be worthy of Alexa Trent if he did such a thing.

Of course, the reader immediately knows that he is going to have to do this unthinkable thing, and the interesting part of the story is how it affects Glennard and his relationship with Alexa Trent, and with Flemel, the friend from whom he seeks the advice initially, and who helps him get the letters published. Glennard destroys one relationship, and nearly destroys the other, and often lashes out irrationally when the book is discussed. He is constantly trying to figure out who knows, and who Flemel might have told, and if his wife has figured it out, even when he tries to make it obvious that he has done the deed.

It is an interesting story about the turmoil which people go through when circumstances force them to act in a way which they wouldn't ordinarily do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This just misses being a novella, as it is quite short, but it shows Wharton in her element at the very start of her literary career, it being her first novel. The influence of her friend Henry James' novella, The Aspern Papers, is evident in her story of a young man tempted to sell love letters sent to him by a famous author for whom he did not care, in order to make enough money to marry the woman he loves. The psychological miasma he is thrown into due to his guilt and fear of exposure balance his slow maturation in realizing his betrayal of the woman who loved him first.

Superb character study and a fast read - this edition is nicely printed and is most readable.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeanette Broekhuis on January 21, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Just a question: is this the same book as Ethan Frome? (The picture shown is a cover of Ethan Frome.
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