The 2002 book Hell Hath No Fury, edited by Anna Holmes, is a collection of letters written by women at that excruciating, pathetic, heartbreaking, spent, disgusted, disillusioned moment when an affair is ending. Included in the contents, under the heading “The Silent Treatment,”is a 1910 letter from Edith Wharton to her lover, Morton Fullerton, who has slowly stopped writing.
Four months before she wrote to Fullerton, Wharton learned from her husband, Teddy, that he was having an affair of his own and had withdrawn the equivalent of a million dollars from Wharton’s trust fund to cover…various expenses. At a time in history when the term “bi-polar”didn’t even exist, Wharton was also enduring Teddy’s frightening mood swings. The “cares & bewilderments” Wharton mentions in her letter to Fullerton are something of an understatement.
Wharton struggles hard, as she writes, to be rational, intelligent, to lay out her case against Fullerton and demand to know if they are lovers or friends. The pleading tone and the fact that she writes at all, given how badly he’s treated her, indicates that she is still under his spell.
Amazingly, it is Edith herself who regains control and answers the “lovers or friends” question.
You can read about this remarkable women in my biography The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton.
About Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge
Biography | View
- Just Fine They Way They Are (Calkins Creek, March 1, 2011)
- The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton (Clarion Books, 2010)
- Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (Holiday House, 2005; Berndtsdotter Books, 2012)
- When Esther Morris Headed West (Holiday House, 2001)
- The Legend of Strap Buckner (Holiday House, 2001)
- Wicked Jack (Holiday House, 1995)
Speaker / Presenter
Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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