What we're about
Upcoming events (2)
We will be reading this play aloud together, an hour and a half at a time. No experience necessary. Love of great literature a +.
The play revolves around an aristocratic Russian landowner who returns to her family estate (which includes a large and well-known cherry orchard) just before it is auctioned to pay the mortgage. Unresponsive to offers to save the estate, she allows its sale to the son of a former serf; the family leaves to the sound of the cherry orchard being cut down. The story presents themes of cultural futility – both the futile attempts of the aristocracy to maintain its status and of the bourgeoisie to find meaning in its newfound materialism. It dramatizes the socio-economic forces in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, including the rise of the middle class after the abolition of serfdom in the mid-19th century and the decline of the power of the aristocracy.
Link for the play: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/7986/7986-h/7986-h.htm#link2H_4_0013
Another early story, “A Cup of Cold Water,” offers a startlingly realistic rendering of Wharton’s own New York. She reveals its beautiful surfaces and grim undercurrents, its seductive appeal and ruthless mechanics.
Woburn is an impecunious young man in love with the rich Miss Talcott. Because they are both from good families they move in the same circles, but because Woburn is poor, Miss Talcott will never marry him.