Gerard Sweeney has claimed a connection between the "Pure Water Move" and Wharton's cousin Joseph Wharton's interest in Philadelphia water supplies but Hollis Robbins suggests that Wharton knew her cousin's plan was tragically inadequate and would not have prevented typhoid deaths, arguing that "Edith Wharton's practical grasp of late-nineteenth-century municipal water problems suggests how to account for the novel's reward of circulation" as public health measure. Bill Gleason reads anxieties about masculinity in "The Phantom Toothpick: Men's Mouths in The Custom of the Country." Maria DiBattista calls Undine "The Serial Bride."
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