An immensely popular bestseller upon its publication in 1905, The House of Mirth was Edith Wharton's first great novel. Set among the elegant brownstones of New York City and opulent country houses like gracious Bellomont on the Hudson, the novel creates a satiric portrayal of what Wharton herself called "a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers" with a precision comparable to that of Proust. And her brilliant and complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, becomes an incisive commentary on the nature and status of women in that society. From her tragic attraction to bachelor lawyer Lawrence Selden to her desperate relationship with social-climbing Rosedale, Lily is all too much a product of the world indicated by the title, a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes: "The heart of fools is in the house of mirth." For it is Lily's very specialness that threatens the elegance and fulfillment she seeks in life. Along with the author's other masterpiece, The Age of Innocence, this novel claims a place among the finest American novels of manners.
Set among the glittering salons of Gilded Age New York, Edith Wharton's most popular novel is a moving indictment of a society whose soul-crushing limitations destroy a woman too spirited to be contained by them. The beautiful, much-desired Lily Bart has been raised to be one of the perfect wives of the wealthy upper class, but her drive and her spark of independent character prevent her from conforming sucessfully. Her desire for a comfortable life means that she will not marry for love without money, but her resistance to the rules of the social elite endangers her many marriage proposals and leads to a dramatic downward spiral into debt and dishonor. One of Edith Wharton's most bracing and nuanced portraits of the life of women in a hostile, highly ordered world, The House of Mirth unfolds with the force of classical tragedy.fe. Along with the author's other masterpiece, The Age of Innocence, this novel claims a place among the finest American novels of manners.From the Paperback edition.
ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP An incisive portrait of New York high society and the somber economics of marriage during the late nineteenth century, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth tells the story of beguiling socialite Lily Bart's ill-fated attempt to find happiness. THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES: * A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information * A chronology of the author's life and work * A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context * An outline of key themes and plot points to guide the reader's own interpretations * Detailed explanatory notes * Critical analysis and modern perspectives on the work * Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction * A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience Simon & Schuster Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.
A careful selection, including Wharton's "major" letters that are often quoted, and for the first time, a substantial portion of her correspondence with Morton Fullerton, with whom she had an affair while in her mid-40s.
Madame de Treymes, Edith Wharton's first publication after the highly successful The House of Mirth, is a captivating portrait of turn-of-the-century American and French culture. Inspired by Wharton's own entré into Parisian society in 1906 and reminiscent of the works of Henry James, it tells the story of two young innocents abroad: Fanny Frisbee of New York, unhappily married to the dissolute Marquis de Malrive, and John Durham, her childhood friend who arrives in Paris intent on convincing Fanny to divorce her husband and marry him instead. A subtle investigation of the clash of cultures and the role of women in the social hierarchy, Madame de Treymes confirms Edith Wharton's position, as Edmund Wilson wrote, as "an historian of the American society of her time." This Scribner edition of Madame de Treymes also includes three novellas: The Touchstone, Sanctuary, and Bunner Sisters. These short works are rich in the social satire and cunning insight that characterized Wharton's highly acclaimed novels The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth.
A New York Review Books Original Edith Wharton wrote about New York as only a native can. Her Manhattan is a city of well-appointed drawing rooms, hansoms and broughams, all-night cotillions, and resplendent Fifth Avenue flats. Bishops' nieces mingle with bachelor industrialists; respectable wives turn into excellent mistresses. All are governed by a code of behavior as rigid as it is precarious. What fascinates Wharton are the points of weakness in the structure of Old New York: the artists and writers at its fringes, the free-love advocates testing its limits, widows and divorcées struggling to hold their own. The New York Stories of Edith Wharton gathers twenty stories of the city, written over the course of Wharton's career. From her first published story, "Mrs. Manstey's View," to one of her last and most celebrated, "Roman Fever," this new collection charts the growth of an American master and enriches our understanding of the central themes of her work, among them the meaning of marriage, the struggle for artistic integrity, the bonds between parent and child, and the plight of the aged. Illuminated by Roxana Robinson's Introduction, these stories showcase Wharton's astonishing insight into the turbulent inner lives of the men and women caught up in a rapidly changing society.
The four novellas collected here, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Age of Innocence, brilliantly capture New York of the 1840s, '50s, '60s, and '70s. Originally published in 1924, this outstanding quartet includes False Dawn, about a rocky father/son relationship; The Old Maid, the best known of the four, in which a young woman's hidden illegitimate child is adoted by her best friend, with devastating results; The Spark, involving a young man and his moral rehabilitation -- "sparked" by a chance encounter with Walt Whitman; and New Year's Day, an O. Henryesque tale of a married woman suspected of adultery. Each reveals the codes and customs that ruled society of the time, drawn with the perspicacious eye and style that is uniquely Edith Wharton's. Pocket Books' enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This valume reprints the orginal New York Times Book Review feature on Old New York, a piece that helps fix the stories in the contemporary critical landscape. Also included are critical perspectives, suggestions for further reading, and a visual essay composed of authentic period illustrations and photographs.
The third in the Modern Library's series of original compilations, The Raven and the Monkey's Paw is a collection of classic tales and poems to engage our fear-seeking senses. The beauty of these stories and poems lies in their readability: ideal for sharing aloud around the campfire or for a quick, thrilling dip . . . under the covers with a flashlight. The writing itself sends as many awe-inspired shivers down the spine as do the ghosts and goblins on these pages. Edgar Allan Poe, the master of the horror story and the chiming lyric poem, opens the volume with his best-loved stories: "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Black Cat," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Premature Burial," "The Tell-Tale Heart," "Berenice," and "Ligeia." Every bit as chilling now as on the day they were written, these tales retain their power to stir the reader again and again. Poe, who was as well known for his poems as for his stories, is also represented by such verse standards as "The Raven," "Lenore," "To Helen," "Ulalume," and "Annabel Lee," among others. Numerous other practitioners of the supernatural story are included: Edith Wharton, with her gripping "Afterward"; Charles Dickens and his famed ghost story "The Signalman"; W. W. Jacobs, with this com-pilation's inspiration, "The Monkey's Paw." Also here are Saki's engrossing "Sredni Vashtar"; O. Henry's story of love lost and hopes dashed, "The Furnished Room"; Wilkie Collins's lively "A Terribly Strange Bed"; and "The Boarded Window," Ambrose Bierce's tale of the bizarre. A year-round collection for reading aloud--and frightening your friends--The Raven and the Monkey's Paw will gratify all manner of thrill-seekers.The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
A side from her Pulitzer Prize-winning talent as a novel writer, Edith Wharton also distinguished herself as a short story writer, publishing more than seventy-two stories in ten volumes during her lifetime. The best of her short fiction is collected here in Roman Fever and Other Stories. From her picture of erotic love and illegitimacy in the title story to her exploration of the aftermath of divorce detailed in "Souls Belated" and "The Last Asset," Wharton shows her usual skill "in dissecting the elements of emotional subtleties, moral ambiguities, and the implications of social restrictions," as Cynthia Griffin Wolff writes in her introduction. Roman Fever and Other Stories is a surprisingly contemporary volume of stories by one of our most enduring writers.
One of Edith Wharton's personal favorites, Summer "breaks, or stretches, many conventions of romandc love stories and in the process creates a new picture of female sexuality" (Marilyn French, from the Introduction). Like Wharton's more famous novel Ethan Frome, Summer is set in the Berkshires. But the chilly hills that set the background for Ethan's tentative, ill-fated romance have been replaced by a landscape bathed in sun -- and the figure at the center of Summer is a vibrant and passionate young woman, Charity Royall. A New Englander of humble origins, Charity is swept into a torrid love affair with Lucien Harney, an artistically inclined young man from New York City. The conventions that rule society, however, are just as potent in Charity's world as in Ethan Frome's, and her dreams, like his, are inevitably thwarted. In her refreshing Introduction, novelist Marilyn French delves into the themes of female sexuality and feminist sentiment present not only in this novel, but in Wharton's work as a whole. A bold, provocative work, Summer was an immediate sensation when it was first published in 1917, and stands as one of Whar
Stephen Glennard, a young lawyer, sells a package of love letters, written to him over the years by distinguished novelist Margaret Aubyn, to raise money to pay for his forthcoming wedding to another woman. After the wedding, his secret comes back to haunt him, and when he confesses to his wife, their marriage is reduced to resigned coexistence.
Sex, drugs, work, money, infatuation with the occult and spiritual healing -- these are the remarkably modern themes that animate Twilight Sleep.
Wharton provides general comments on the roots of modern fiction, the various approaches to writing a piece of fiction, and the development of form and style.
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