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Arts & Culture

Designing woman

Edith Wharton is best known for her novels, but her first book transformed American homes

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Dr. Richard Guy Wilson lectures on Edith Wharton Wednesday

Gilded Age Guerrilla: Edith Wharton's Revolution in Literature and Architecture | 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 | Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College, 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park | 407-646-2000 | rollins.edu/wpi | free

While readers of Edith Wharton may be fully cognizant of her close focus on matters of personal style (witness Lily Bart in The House of Mirth, ruthlessly sacrificing her true self in order to find a man to keep her in new dresses), they may be surprised to know Wharton's first book was a text on interior design. "The Decoration of Houses is arguably the most influential book ever published by an American on interior decoration," says Dr. Richard Guy Wilson, an architectural historian and A&E TV personality (America's Castles). His lecture on Wharton's work will touch on the writer's strong sense of the influence of setting on character, in both fiction and design.

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