Monday, February 11, 2013

Edith Wharton and Erotica

With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, we suspected you’d want to get into the mood. Forget Fifty Shades of Grey or the conventions of a Hallmark card, Edith Wharton wrote this risqué fragment as a part of a story that she never completed The excerpt was published for the first time in 1975. This is not the age of innocence. 

The Bread of Angels

c. 1919: “And now, darling,” Mr. Palmato said, drawing her to the deep divan, “let me show you what only you and I have the right to show each other.” He caught her wrists as he spoke, and looking straight into her eyes, repeated in a penetrating whisper, “Only you and I.” But his touch had never been tenderer. Already she felt every fiber vibrating under it, as of old, only now with the more passionate eagerness bred of privation and of the dull misery of her marriage. She let herself sink backward among the pillows, and already Mr. Palmato was on his knees at her side, his face close to hers. Again her burning lips were parted by his tongue, and she felt it insinuate itself between her teeth and plunge into the depths of her mouth in a long, searching caress, while at the same moment his hands softly parted the thin folds of her wrapper.

Winter 2009
Edith Wharton, from "Beatrice Palmato." Having published her first collection of short stories in 1899 in her late twenties, Wharton emerged as one of America's foremost novelists with the publication of The House of Mirth in 1905

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