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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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A Library of America Paperback Classic by

Goodreads rating: 3.94

Paperback, Published in Jul 2009 by Library of America

ISBN10: 1598530550 | ISBN13: 9781598530551

Page count: 390

'If there is a more highly regarded female American author of the twentieth century, her name doesn't readily come to mind.'
--John Updike

Born in 1862 into an exclusive New York society 'against whose rigid mores she often rebelled' Edith Wharton bridged the literary worlds of two continents and two centuries in her rich and glamorous life. The House of Mirth (1905), her tenth book, is the story of young Lily Bart and her tragic sojourn among the upper class of turn-of-the- century New York, touching upon the insidious effects of social convention and the sexual and financial aggression to which free-spirited women were exposed. 'A frivolous society',Wharton wrote, 'can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.'

Library of America Paperback Classics feature authoritative texts drawn from the acclaimed Library of America series and introduced by today's most distinguished scholars and writers. Each book features a detailed chronology of the author?s life and career, and essay on the choice of the text, and notes.

The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from Edith Wharton: Novels, volume number 30 in the Library of America series. It is joined in the series by three companion volumes, gathering novellas, short stories, and other writing by Edith Wharton.

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