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In 1921, Edith Wharton became the first female winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, awarded for 'The Age of Innocence', a somewhat nostalgic look back to the world in which she had grown up in the second half of the 19th century.
2 Edith Wharton quizzes and 30 Edith Wharton trivia questions.
1.
  Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 20 Qns
"The House of Mirth" was a bestseller in 1905 and is one of the great American novels of that period. Lily Bart can't choose between marrying a rich man or the man she loves. It also illustrates the hypocrisy of American high society back then.
Average, 20 Qns, queenofsheba, Nov 14 19
Average
queenofsheba
Nov 14 19
323 plays
2.
  Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Edith Wharton's prize-winning novel brings alive 'old New York' in the contexts of international customs. While social settings are key, Wharton's characters rule. How many of them can you identify by how they know things?
Average, 10 Qns, Windswept, Mar 18 09
Average
Windswept gold member
327 plays
trivia question Quick Question
Mrs. Haffen, the char-woman, sells a packet of letters to Lily. Who wrote these letters to whom?

From Quiz "Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth""




Related Topics
  Contemporary Literature and Fiction [Literature] (22 quizzes)


Edith Wharton Trivia Questions

1. Who is a male character who finds himself with two women in his life? He also early on shows himself as being a bit patronizing. His emotional caution ultimately costs him the woman he most loves.

From Quiz
Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Newland Archer

Newland thinks, "He meant her (thanks to his enlightening companionship) to develop a social tact and readiness of wit enabling her to hold her own with the most popular married women of the 'younger set,' in which it was the recognised custom to attract masculine homage while playfully discouraging it. If he had probed to the bottom of his vanity (as he sometimes nearly did) he would have found there the wish that his wife should be as worldly-wise and eager to please as the married lady...." Notice all the parentheses surrounding that information about how he really is.

2. In what American city does the major part of the story take place?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: New York

Her previous novel was set in Europe, without much success. Henry James suggested to write a novel set in New York. Suprisingly enough James didn't like the novel. According to him it contained two different novels.

3. In chapter one Lily drinks first with Selden and later again with Percy Gryce. What does she drink?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: tea

Lily demonstrates how refined her manners are by making tea on a train. This shows how well she's integrated in the high society in spite of not being rich herself.

4. Who says, quite shocked, "But, I say, Dad: do you mean you won't come up at all?" This conversation takes place in Paris near the entrance of a building where Ellen lives.

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Dallas Archer

Conversations between father and son in the novel are generally stilted, as the following dialogue shows, "'I say. Father, what was she like?' Archer felt his colour rise under his son's unabashed gaze. 'Come, own up: you and she were great pals, weren't you? wasn't she most awfully lovely?' 'Lovely, I don't know. She was different.'"

5. What does Percy Gryce collect?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: books

He collects Americana. Lily pretends to be interested in this boring subject, because she hopes to marry him for his money. Gryce is glad that finally somebody shares his passion!

6. Which character voices a troubled sense of the world: "One can't be alone for a minute in that great seminary of a house, with all the doors wide open, and always a servant bringing tea, or a log for the fire, or the newspaper." ?

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Ellen Olenska

Newland always saw Ellen as somehow "foreign," "different."

7. The title "The House of Mirth" refers to the estate of the Trenors. What's its name?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Bellomont

The title refers to the decadent lifestyle of these rich people: gambling, adultery, speculation, big parties... They are the "new rich", most of them not of noble descent. Lily feels at home in this environment and loses a lot of money by playing bridge.

8. Who is the matriarch of New York society who is called a "monstrous obesity"?

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Mrs. Manson Mingott

Mrs. Mingott becomes a caricature in the novel. Archer describes a visit to her as follows: "an amusing episode to the young man." Mrs. Mingott's powers were insufficient to protect Ellen, however, in this increasingly materialist world--as this statement shows, "Even her devoted champion, old Mrs Manson Mingott, had been unable to defend her refusal to return to her husband."

9. What is Mrs. Peniston to Lily?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: her aunt

Lily dislikes her aunt for being boring, but hopes to inherit her fortune. This expectation of a big inheritance helps her to infiltrate among the rich.

10. Who is the woman who belongs to a social class far lower and much ruder than Ellen Olenska?

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Miss Blenker

The Blenker family is described as being "volatile," one daughter described as "blonde and blowsy, in bedraggled muslin."

11. Who isn't a guest at the estate of the Trenors?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Gerty Farish

Gerty Farish is Selden's cousin. She has a sober lifestyle. Lily looks down on her in the beginning, but Gerty turns out to be one of her few real friends.

12. Who is the French intermediary who comes to the United States to try to cut a deal with Ellen Olenska?

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: M. Riviere

M. Riviere says rather passionately that he does not want the Countess to go back to her husband.

13. Lily promised to go to church, but goes for a walk instead. Who joins her?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Lawrence Selden

She promised it to the Trenor daughters and to Percy Gryce. She originally hoped to get a marriage proposal from Gryce after the service, but Selden's arrival at Bellomont made her change plans.

14. Who is the character who laments that somehow life had gone beyond him? This character will conclude that life was more real in his mind than in the world, deciding, "It's more real to me here than if I went up."

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Newland Archer

"Something he knew he had missed, the flower of life. But he thought of it now as a thing so unattainable and improbable that to have repined would have been like despairing because one had not drawn the first prize in the lottery." Newland, like some other heroes of this time period, feels himself encircled, unable to make a difference. He senses that he is "like a prisoner in the centre of an armed camp." Before the end, Newland even senses his own failure, finding himself, "the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen."

15. What symbolical country was invented by Selden?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: the republic of the spirit

Selden shows Lily how shallow it would be to marry Gryce for his money. Lily is confronted with the dilemma between marrying Selden for love or marrying another for money.

16. Who is the character who reflects about his marriage that "all his carefully built-up world would tumble about him like a house of cards"?

From Quiz Who Knows? Wharton's "The Age of Innocence"

Answer: Newland Archer

Archer thinks his wife "childishly amused at the vain efforts of the eight bridesmaids to discover where their mysterious retreat was situated." This newly-wed refers to his wife as "the simple girl of yesterday," whose eyes "revealed only the most tranquil unawareness."

17. Who marries Percy Gryce?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Evie van Osburgh

Lily has missed her chance. She regrets that Gryce's fortune is united with another fortune, the one of the van Osburghs. Evie's sister, Gwen van Osburgh, marries Jack Stepney, so Lily's cousin succeeds in marrying a rich woman.

18. Mrs. Haffen, the char-woman, sells a packet of letters to Lily. Who wrote these letters to whom?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Bertha Dorset to Lawrence Selden

Mrs. Haffen abusively thinks that Lily wrote the letters. She wants to blackmail her. Lily buys the letters, becauses she thinks about blackmailing George or Bertha Dorset herself. If they would divorce, she could marry George. However Lily is too good for this and ultimately burns the letters.

19. Paul Morpeth organizes an exhibition of "tableaux vivants". Whose painting does Lily represent?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Reynolds

She represents the portrait "Mrs. Loyd" by Sir Joshua Reynolds (England, 1723-1792). Everybody in Bellomont admires the result, not so much for the resemblance, but simply for how beautiful Lily looks in that dress.

20. Who invites Lily for a trip to Europe?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Bertha Dorset

Bertha will later become one of Lily's biggest enemies, when she suspects her of having an affair with her husband George. The invitation is the end of the first part. They plan to have a cruise on the Mediterranean, but will spend most of their time in Nice and Monaco.

21. Who inherits the largest part of Mrs. Peniston's fortune?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Grace Stepney

Lily is disinherited, because she has gambling debts and because there are rumors about her alleged affair with George Dorset. Grace Stepney spends a lot of time with Mrs. Peniston and hates Lily, who looks down on her.

22. How much was Lily's debt to Gus Trenor?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: $9,000

Lily thought it was her own money, but found out that he actually paid her hoping to become her lover. The last thing she does before she dies is write a cheque to Gus Trenor.

23. Which word describes the personality of Gerty Farish?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: altruistic

She is involved in charity work. Lily's donation is mainly for her own ego and is ironically enough paid with Gus Trenor's money. It helps Nettie Strutter-Crane to start a new life.

24. Where does Lily travel to with the Gormers?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Alaska

She doesn't really like the Gormers, but wants to escape from her difficult situation in New York. Later Bertha Dorset makes sure that that relation is destroyed also.

25. How many respectable jobs does Lily have during her lifetime?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: two

First she's the social secretary of Mrs. Norma Hatch in the Emporium Hotel (although some of the things she is asked to do are not really all that respectable). Later she's a milliner. Although she was always proud that she could trim her own hats, she turns out to be terrible at this job and ends up unemployed. When things got worse, she took on some less savory means of earning a living, including dancing in a bar.

26. Who plays Lily Bart in the movie adaptation by Terence Davies in 2000?

From Quiz Edith Wharton: "The House of Mirth"

Answer: Gillian Anderson

It was already a silent movie, by Albert Capellani, in 1918! Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie and Oona's daughter, played Lily in the 1981 tv adaptation. Gillian Anderson is a very good Lily. The story works well on the screen, because it's very visual.

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