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It’s been almost 80 years since Edith Wharton published her last book, but perhaps her most immortal character, Gilded-Age New York City, looks as new to us now as it must have to Wharton over 100 years ago. Wharton captured New York City just as it had begun to modernize. Horses were giving way to motorized cars, the elevated subway was connecting neighborhoods, and floods of immigrants were filling the city. Change is never...
Costume Party is a monthly column exploring fashion, personal style, and historical aesthetics in film. The House of Mirth, Terence Davies’s 2000 adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel, is an ultimately tragic film filled with sumptuous visuals. (The film plays twice at the Museum of the Moving Image this weekend as their Davies retrospective concludes.) Gillian Anderson plays Lily Bart, a socialite who finds herself entangled in social and financial pitfalls. The story takes place in...

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