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40) I discuss this scene and others in a 1995 paper on incest in Wharton's later novels, linking the chiastic resolution (a Cavellian comedy of marriage and remarriage) accomplished through daughter sacrifice in Twilight Sleep to the conclusion of Walpole's Castle of Otranto.
Meanwhile, it is no accident that these same pictorial scenes in As I Lay Dying are directly based on highly relevant passages from Edith Wharton's novels, The Age of Innocence (1920) and Twilight Sleep (1927).
Wharton's Twilight Sleep (1927), a novel about irresponsible mothers and the sacrifice of daughters, takes its name from an anesthesia developed for amputations in wartime that continued to be used through the 1960s to blunt the pain of childbirth.
Faulkner's inspired response to this reference in Twilight Sleep took Whistler's work from the province of composed mothers and peaceful bridges in twilight to recall Whistler's own explosive nocturne.
Whereas the Gothic element of Twilight Sleep has been neglected, its humorous element seems to have divided readers.
7) Similarly, in Twilight Sleep, satire jostles with hints of the uncanny--a word used several times in the novel--in order to challenge the reader's complacency about the nature of progress and the place of women in the modern world.
For whereas Wharton's earlier The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country remain resolutely within the realms of American naturalism and realism, Twilight Sleep, like Waugh's novel, plays with the boundaries between naturalism and the Gothic.