A Thoroughly Dislikable Character

View "The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton"

View “The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton”

Undine Spragg was one of the most dislikable heroines Edith Wharton ever created. This social “swell,” star of the novel, The Custom of the Country, ruthlessly trampled over family, friends, and enemies alike in her quest to rise as far as possible above her humble Apex, Kansas roots. There was hardly a redeeming word to say about Undine back in 1913, when the book was published, and yet neither readers nor critics could resist being pulled into Undine’s corner as she single-handedly steamrolled into high society on both sides of the Atlantic.

Scarlett Johansson is about to become Undine Spragg.  There’s online chatter about a new 8-episode series (with the same title as the novel) about to hit the small screen. We’ll see if Ms. Johansson’s Undine can walk the tightrope between despicable and engaging as masterfully as Edith Wharton’s original did!

While you’re waiting to meet Undine Spragg, take a peek behind the scenes to see what Edith Wharton was dealing with in her own life while she was writing the novel, order a free Custom of the Country download, or purchase a hardcopy of the book.

The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton

By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge


Edith Wharton, author of Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, and other acclaimed novels, was born into a wealthy New York City family during the Gilded Age. In fact, she was a Jones of “keeping up with the Joneses” fame.  This anecdote opens Woodridge’s biography of an astonishing life.  Beginning in childhood, Edith found ways to escape from society’s and her family’s expectations and follow an unconventional, creative path. Unhappily married and eventually divorced, she surrounded herself with the cultural creatives of her day, mostly male friends.  To escape the obligations of New York City high society, she spent much of her life in Paris and was recognized by the French government for her work establishing four charities during World War I. Her literary and personal life, her witty and incisive correspondence, her fondness for automobiles and small dogs–all are detailed in this vibrant account of a woman well ahead of her time.  Includes photographs, a bibliography, source notes, and an index.

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Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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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