This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jan 08, Edoardo Albert rated it it was amazing. Go on ask me a question. Any question. You know you want to. It can be anything, anything at all, and I'll tell you the answer. Which stocks to buy, who will win the league, how to build a destructor death ray shooting pink plasm. All you have to do is ask, and I'll tell you the answer. I reckon I'd like to be able to do that - but then, I'm the sort of person who likes quizzes.
My dream job would be as the Chaser on The Chase which, if you don't know it, is a daytime quiz programme where a team Go on ask me a question. My dream job would be as the Chaser on The Chase which, if you don't know it, is a daytime quiz programme where a team of four attempt to escape the Chaser, a professional quizzer, as the Chaser hunts them down: each time the contestants get a question wrong and the Chaser gets it right, he draws closer. Sadly, I don't even know enough to be the Chaser, let alone the Touchstone. Because the Touchstone really can answer any question you ask it.
Any question at all. Including the one about how to make a destructor death ray shooting pink plasma. So, perhaps not the sort of thing you want to give to just anyone. Quite right.
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But, the question is, who should you give it to? The Guardians?
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They are, in fact, the Guardians of the Galaxy, only this version does not feature talking raccoons and ambulant trees but rather a somewhat ruffled civil servant. Now, this is the first of Andrew Norriss's books where I don't think I agree with the answer. I'm not sure any institution could guard such knowledge since the knowledge would, in the end, corrupt the institution, leading the, in this case, Guardians, to see themselves as more important than that which they're guarding, ie.
It's what happens to institutional bureaucracies over time. I'd much rather have Douglas, our year-old hero, in charge of the Touchstone than the Guardians. I sort of think I'd even prefer the gung ho adventuress who gives him the Touchstone to have it. But then, there is one question that will answer with surety what your attitude to the Touchstone would be, and it's the same question that was posed to Achilles: to have a long and happy life, or a short and glorious one.
When I was fourteen, I posed that question to my classmates and, to my surprise, received a unanimous reply: long and happy.
Touchstone (Wharton 1900)
I was the only one, at the time, who wanted glory and fame. I suspect that was because, to that point, I'd never really been unhappy, and, when you're 14, the prospect of dying at 28 seems just as dim and distant as dying at The Touchstone is for those who want a long and happy life and, as I've got older, I have come to appreciate that much, much more. But, in our increasingly safety conscious world, I fear we lose something by giving no avenue for the young glory hunter: in previous ages he could sail off to strange lands, now there's no such opportunity.
Another thought: with the internet increasingly omnipresent and omniscient, have we, in effect, given a Touchstone to everyone? If so, it's chief effect seems to be a proliferation of cute cat videos and the further loss of personal memory; if everything can be called up, why bother to recall it? But, I suspect, memory is an underappreciated aspect of intelligence. Which is perhaps not all that surprising considering that Edith Wharton and Henry James not only knew each other well, but became very good friends.
Finally, The Touchstone truly is a most excellent introduction to the fiction of Edith Wharton, the first woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in , for her novel, The Age of Innocence Jul 21, Marita rated it liked it. Maybe Wharton's charm and acerbity wear with the more of her books that you read or maybe this one just is not her best. Lovely writing, some interesting insights but ultimately difficult to be invested in. The idea is compelling: selling out a not-love to secure your true love--who eventually falls a little flat. But if you've read Wharton, from the get-go you know it's not going to pan out all too well.
And then it doesn't. And I couldn't quite get myself to care about any of the characters. A Maybe Wharton's charm and acerbity wear with the more of her books that you read or maybe this one just is not her best. And that was that. Jan 05, Maureen Lo rated it really liked it Shelves: magic-square-challenge How can he betrayed his ex gf's though dead personal privacy and trust by publishing her love letters to him just to get rich and marry someone else?
It was not bad, but kinda melodramatic and the characters were rather annoying. As a satire it was good. A nice short read, with some interesting lines. The nature of the conflict and the way the main characters acted upon it, seemed completely archaic to me, a contemporary reader, but Wharton managed to keep the story interesting.
Her observations of a human character are acute and though her prose is dense, it runs smoothly. I especially enjoy her descriptions of everyday life. The Gilded Age novels written today can never capture all details in full, since the authors live in a completely different world.
Wharton knows her world. Take a ride The nature of the conflict and the way the main characters acted upon it, seemed completely archaic to me, a contemporary reader, but Wharton managed to keep the story interesting. Take a ride in a hansom the 19th century version of a taxi for example: if you lifted the lid, the cabby automatically assumed you had something to tell him and slowed down in order to hear you.
Details like that make Wharton's novels a real treasure for anyone interested in this period. Apr 23, Kailey rated it it was amazing. Raised more questions than it answered, which is the best thing a book can do. Most notably for me, Wharton raises my favorite question asked by female writers of her period: is it better to realize our greatest desires or is true joy only possible outside of the move toward fulfillment? It brings to mind the dilemma at the background of most of Kate Chopin's work - the irreconcilable natures of the "life that is within and the life that is without.
Apr 11, Ana rated it liked it Shelves: fiction , novella , north-american-literature , united-states-literature , 20th-century. The premise of The Touchstone tugs at your imagination and Edith Wharton's lovely use of language entices further. The building of tension is palpable, but I was a little frustrated with the ending.
I think it could have been more dramatic had Alexa reacted differently or Margaret Aubyn been alive. It's interesting how Wharton plays with morality, both in theory and in practice. All in all, I liked this novella and can recommend it. Jun 01, Dawn rated it it was ok. I loved "Ethan Frome," the first Wharton work I read. I did not love this novella. Much ado about not much. And unless I'm missing something, Alexa mentions "the baby" early on, and then never again. Um, what? Nov 27, Jennifer D. Munro rated it really liked it. Fantastic plot, long chewy sentences, surprisingly happy ending, published in and stands the test of time.
What do you get when you mix Jane Austen with Henry James? The talented Edith Wharton. Beautiful metaphors draw out a story about Glennard, a man who had once known a famous author and exchanged many letters with her prior to her untimely death, finding himself with a moral dilemma to obtain the heart of Alexa Trent. As he self propels himself into a sticky situation having not seen the forest for the trees, Edith Wharton had me considering the worth of money in exchange for love.
These sorts of stories captivate me because the obvious big moral issues murder, adultery, etc can make for intriguing and fast paced stories, but the deliberate unraveling of a person, either a bit or wholly, draws you in as you watch their small choices build to bigger consequences. Definitely 4.
The Touchstone - Wikipedia
Nov 23, Terence rated it really liked it Shelves: fiction. I have long been a fan of Edith Wharton, and feel she obviously was an inspiration for F. This story, her first novella, is so tightly wound and beautifully executed that it is a perfect example of pacing and intrigue. Wharton knew how to cut too, "Genius is of small use to a woman who does not know how to do her hair" and expose the constructs of love at her time. It's a quick read and just solidifies her for me as one of Ame I have long been a fan of Edith Wharton, and feel she obviously was an inspiration for F.
It's a quick read and just solidifies her for me as one of America's great writers. Conscience can play an important role in the behaviour of an individual. But, does one always act upon it? This is the dilemma with which the reader is confronted in The Touchstone, one of the earliest works of Edith Wharton.
A young lawyer, in a precarious economic situation, has the means of obtainig the affluence and, consequently, of obtaining the girl Conscience can play an important role in the behaviour of an individual. A young lawyer, in a precarious economic situation, has the means of obtainig the affluence and, consequently, of obtaining the girl he loves. But this means is morally reprehensible, in his opinion. Wharton builds up the ensuing fight between good and bad, between the accepatable and unacceptable to such a pitch, that the reader cannot but feel himself involved into this psychological battle.
But, is there a possibility of a redemption? Can one undo what has been done? Or, at least repair the deed committed by an act of atonement? View all 3 comments. Apr 30, classic reverie rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-writer , , short-stories , wharton , philosophical-bend , first-novel-by-author.
I have recently read Wharton's first novel, The Valley of Decision, and wanted to read her first novella and published work which is this one. I have been reading first novels this year and that is why I choose these books but will evidently read all her stories God willing. I am a fan of Wharton and her usual sad endings but this was not t I have recently read Wharton's first novel, The Valley of Decision, and wanted to read her first novella and published work which is this one.
I am a fan of Wharton and her usual sad endings but this was not that but a hopeful ending which makes looking at her unfinished novel The Buccaneers, which I also read, thinking she might have ended that on such a note. The author that finished that book did leave a hopeful note at the end and I wonder how much The Touchstone, if she read it played on that. Sometimes in life things come full circle. Looking forward to reading her again as I do all my favorite authors. I read Delphi collection of her works. The Touchstone is an early Edith Wharton story about a man of no principles.
He was loved, but could not return that love. He held letters from a woman who loved him and, after her death, sold them, creating a rift in his own marriage. While critics write Wharton was depicting the universal roles of men and women in her time, I found the book loaded with phrases and instances that expressed subtle rage. No one I read has said this, but I think the book was an outlet for Wharton to express her a The Touchstone is an early Edith Wharton story about a man of no principles. No one I read has said this, but I think the book was an outlet for Wharton to express her anger at "doing, being and saying the expected thing.
It places the woman who loved him in the category of the unloved and marks him as less of a man. And it was all for money. Apr 29, Mark Walsh rated it really liked it. This is the first Wharton ive read - it was collected with 3 other novellas. I love this story! Her writing word for word is beautiful. So is the way she desribes her characters' thoughts and feelings. Sep 08, Karlan rated it it was amazing Shelves: adult. Wharton's novella captures the psychological problems of a young man who should be happy but who destroys his own chances.
Owning a Nook has led me to read more books which I missed when young. This return to authors from the past may be an unforeseen consequence of the E reader.
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View 1 comment. Stephen Glennard is a frustrated man. He's been in love with Alexa Trent and has courted her for two years, but he cant seem to get into a position financially to support a wife. He can barely support himself in fact. His career seems to be going no where and he has no family wealth that he can invest to better himself. But one day, while reading the newspaper he sees an advertisement. Someone is writing a biography about his previous love, who is now deceased, and they are searching for anyone t Stephen Glennard is a frustrated man.
Someone is writing a biography about his previous love, who is now deceased, and they are searching for anyone that may be able to assist in their research. Glennard removes his name from the letters and sells them, making him a fortune and establishing a marriage based on the betrayal of another. However, his mounting shame and his guilty conscience ultimately force him to confess his betrayal to his wife.
He fully expects and even desires that his confession will cause her to despise him. However, her wise and forgiving response opens a way for him to forgive himself and to make what limited amends he can make for his actions. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Touchstone first edition title page. Edith Wharton.