Edith Wharton

The Touchstone

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A man, our "hero", Stephen, needs to come up with a way to make a more money in order to be able to marry his beloved. He has in his possession a pile of old love letters from a famous writer, deceased, at this time. She was called Margaret and was very much in love with Stephen. He finds out he can make lots of profits were he to have the letters published; but he hesitates because he had never really loved her, and had not treated her very well... But since their relationship was never known by society at large; he decides to sell them and publish them anonymously. The rest of the story focuses on the public reaction to the published letters and the consequences for his personal life, both outer and inner... A great and complicated story and study of shady ethics by a great master.
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