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About the Author: Edith Wharton

Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable literary success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.

The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 -- the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.
- Barnesandnoble.com


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Goodreads rating: 3.71

Paperback, Published in Sep 2005 by Cosimo Classics

ISBN10: 159605249X | ISBN13: 9781596052499

Page count: 404

Lethbury, surveying his wife across the dinner table, found his transient glance arrested by an indefinable change in her appearance. "How smart you look! Is that a new gown?" he asked. Her answering look seemed to deprecate his charging her with the extravagance of wasting a new gown on him, and he now perceived that the change lay deeper than any accident of dress. -from "The Mission of Jane" The sly wit and penetrating wisdom of Edith Wharton-one of the most celebrated novelists in the English language-is ever on tap in this essential collection of her short fiction. The social chronicler of the Gilded Age, she exposed the excesses and hypocrisies of refined society in fiction replete with passion, sexual politics, and the rumblings of incipient feminism... as well as astonishingly dramatic storytelling. Here in one volume is a treasure trove of Wharton's short fiction. The Descent of Man, and Other Stories, first published as a collection in 1904, features short stories that appeared in fashionable publications including Scribner's, Cosmopolitan, and Collier's Weekly. Also in this volume is the novella "Madame De Treymes," first published in 1907, the tale of an American woman in the unpleasant thrall of a French aristocrat. American author EDITH WHARTON (1862-1937) was born into a wealthy New York family and made a career of criticizing and satirizing her own high society in fiction. Her best-known novels include The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), and The Age of Innocence (1920), which won the Pulitzer Prize.

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