Tintner provides a detailed analysis of the complex interplay between Wharton and James—how they influenced each other and how some of their writings operate as homages or personal jokes. So deeply was James in Wharton’s confidence, Tintner argues, that he provided her with source models for a number of her characters. In addition, Wharton found in his fiction structures for her own, especially for The Age of Innocence.
Tintner also brings her considerable knowledge of art history to bear in her study of art allusions in Wharton’s work. Wharton’s response both to the Italian painters active before Raphael and to the English Pre-Raphaelites of a generation before her own is analyzed here in three essays. These pieces demonstrate Wharton’s sensibility to changes in art tastes and collecting, the inheritance of Rossetti’s revolutionary paintings in the unfinished novel, The Buccaneers, and the importance of home in The Glimpses of the Moon, as demonstrated by Wharton’s use of Tiepolo’s fresco in the church of Scalzi.
Tintner concludes by considering Wharton’s literary legacy and who Wharton has figured in the imaginations of recent writers, including Richard Howard, Louis Auchincloss, and Cathleen Schine. Tintner finds some part of Wharton’s personality or work evoked in a number of contemporary works and argues that this presence signals the beginning of an increasing influence.