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The House of Mirth By Edith Wharton
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First published in 1905, The House of Mirth shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles, portraying the moral, social, and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of... More > marriage without assuming the responsibilities. Lily Bart, beautiful, witty, and sophisticated, is accepted by "old money" and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But as she nears 30, her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive tastes, she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her life in the luxury she has come to expect. While many have sought her, something—fastidiousness or integrity—prevents her from making a "suitable" match.< Less
The Glimpses of the Moon By Edith Wharton
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Set in the posh milieu that Wharton knew so intimately, The Glimpses of the Moon is a sweeping portrait of a couple caught up in the trappings of privilege -- and driven by a reckless, all-consuming... More > ambition.... Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer. Many of Wharton's novels are characterized by a subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in upper-class turn-of-the-century society, Wharton became one of its most astute critics, in such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence. In addition to writing several respected novels, Wharton produced a wealth of short stories and is particularly well regarded for her ghost stories.< Less
The Age of Innocence By Edith Wharton
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The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's 12th novel. It won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The story is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s. This is Newland Archer’s world as he... More > prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it.< Less
Ethan Frome By Edith Wharton
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Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie's vivacious cousin enters their... More > household as a "hired girl", Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction's finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton's other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.< Less
The Custom of the Country By Edith Wharton
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Considered by many to be her masterpiece, Edith Wharton's second full-length work is a scathing yet personal examination of the exploits and follies of the modern upper class. As she unfolds the... More > story of Undine Spragg, from New York to Europe, Wharton affords us a detailed glimpse of what might be called the interior décor of this America and its nouveau riche fringes. Through a heroine who is as vain, spoiled, and selfish as she is irresistibly fascinating, and through a most intricate and satisfying plot that follows Undine's marriages and affairs, she conveys a vision of social behavior that is both supremely informed and supremely disenchanted.< Less
Summer By Edith Wharton
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A new Englander of humble origins, Charity Royall is swept into a torrid love affair with an artistically inclined young man from New York City, but her dreams of a future with him are thwarted. A... More > bold, provocative work, 'Summer' was an immediate sensation when first published in 1917 and still stands as one of Wharton's greatest achievements.< Less