So it turns out that Edith Wharton didn’t care much for her female peers.
In the copy of Old New York that I borrowed from my mom, the author of the introduction, Marilyn French, says that Wharton was “stubbornly disinterested” in the successful female writers of her era. A dismissive attitude French calls “horizontal hostility.”
The term “horizontal hostility” was coined in the 1970s by lawyer/activist/feminist Florynce Kennedy to describe destructive power dynamics between women. Be it shaming, attacking, belittling or flat out denying each other’s potential and talent.
Women have come a long way since.