In high school, my favorite teacher, Miss Reynolds, once told our class that F. Scott Fitzgerald was famous for writing “the perfect sentence.” I knew immediately what she meant. While some authors are masters of the paragraph, and others shine most strongly with a single phrase, Fitzgerald’s majesty lay between two periods. He has the rare ability to capture an image – or a feeling – completely within these bounds of punctuation. Unlike Hemingway, Fitzgerald’s writing tends more towards prolix than terse, yet it is possible to get a real feel for his writing by reading just one of his immaculately-crafted sentences.
I have always felt that Edith Wharton came from the F. Scott Fitzgerald school of writing. Like Fitzgerald, Wharton uses words to the utmost advantage; she does not let the reader guess at her meaning, but rather paints with phrases, colors and tints our view with her writing. She has the ability to transport a reader back in time, to the Age of Innocence, or move us through place, to the winding streets of Morocco.
In our newest feature article, writer Inka Piegsa-Quischotte travels through Fez, searching not only for the Morocco of Wharton’s description, but also for a house. She is looking to purchase a mini-palace; a burrow of tiny bedrooms and storage spaces that she can call home. Like me, Piegsa-Quischotte has been seduced by Wharton’s perfect sentences and her ability to conjure up an entire world through a single phrase. Clip-clopping on the back of a mule through the covered alleys and tented streets, Piegsa-Quischotte can’t help but remember the poetry of Wharton’s language, and the aptness of her descriptions.
This week, join us in Morocco, where we ride on colorful saddles and smell the many scents of Fez in Pink Saddles & Djellabas, Edith Wharton’s Fez In Morocco. Allow yourself to be guided by Piegsa-Quischotte and her new-found friends as they work their way through a foreign land, searching for beauty and something far more lasting: a room of one’s own.