Born into an exclusive New York society of elegant manners and rigid codes, Edith Wharton drew on her background to create fiction both trenchantly observant and nostalgic, a vision rich in detail, satire, and tragedy. The House of Mirth traces, through the downfall of independent young Lily Bart, the insidious realities of social convention and sexual and financial aggression among New York’s upper classes at the turn of the century. Repressed passions smolder in small-town New England in the classic Ethan Frome, a tale of unhappy marriage and deperate love which erupts in an act of shattering violence. The Custom of the Country is brilliant, ironic comedy, memorable for its portrait of Miss Undine Spragg of Apex City: beautiful, spoiled, and ambitious. The Age of Innocence, set in the New York society of Wharton’s youth which “dreaded scandal more than disease,” is a profoundly moving tragicomedy of thwarted love told with astonishing insight and objectivity.
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Edith Wharton (1862–1937) enjoyed a prolific career that stretched over forty years and included the publication of more than forty books, among them such classics as The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence, for which she became the first woman… More about Edith Wharton