Actually, I didn't mean to suggest that Undine's obsession was money but that contemporary America's lack of respect for anything else might lead them to see little in Ralph. I would add, however, that Undine's amusement clearly requires a lot of money.
I suspect that the self-made man quote was from someone of the same class, who saw the wealth they were born with as the necessary base for anyone to make something of themselves.
Where did you read the Bloom anecdote? I must have read it but don't remember it. It does perhaps confirm my suspicion to an extent. I would choose Ellen myself. Undine is horrible. Perhaps more can be said of her than of Ellen though. Ellen is mostly the object of Newland's love. I think that novel is about Newland.
The Franzen quote is very interesting. Where is it from?
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