Some Titles Are Literal and Some Titles Are Ironic

They should tell you this at the start, but instead I learned far too late that the title of Edith Wharton's fin de siècle novel of manners House of Mirth is an allusion to a Biblical quotation from Ecclesiastes (the heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth) and so if you're expecting a happy, mirthful ending from this book then you are going to be very disappointed . . . it's a turn-of-the-century version of Mean Girls, without the jokes and the tacked-on happy ending; Lily Bart -- like Cady Heron -- has to navigate the world of the rich and popular, and though it's something of an anachronism to describe them in this way, they turn out to be just like "the Plastics."


zman said...

I got my money's worth with this sentence.

Dave said...

my first use of "fin de siecle"

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.