Search Results: 'Edith Wharton'


157 results for "Edith Wharton"
The Fruit of the Tree By Edith Wharton
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Originally published in 1907, The Fruit of the Tree is a conventionally structured novel hinging upon a love triangle with the principle male character, John Amherst providing the hinge between two... More > different female leads, Bessy Langhope, a mill owner, and Justine Brent, a nurse. Wharton's treatment of the triangle is less conventional, certainly without the kind of emotional competition that might have been used, but then in many respects it only serves as a framework upon which she decided to hang the issues on which the novel is built. The first of these issues is the nature of the new economy as Wharton saw, and within that the relationship between capital, in the form of the mill, and labour. The effects of this relationship are examined through the experiences of Justine Brent and analysed to an extent by John Amhurst. The other issue is that of euthanasia, though to explain the relevance of that issue would provide an important plot spoiler.< Less
Summer By Edith Wharton
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Originally published by Scribners in 1917, Summer is a novel of Wharton's mid-period and tells the story of Charity, a girl 'of the mountains' who is the ward of Lawyer Royall. The plot recounts how... More > Charity finds herself caught between the attentions of two essentially unsavoury characters, Royall on the one side, who does himself no favours by invading the girl's bedroom, and on the other Lucius Harney, who purports to be the gentleman suitor only to get Charity pregnant while actually engaged to another woman. That Harney also cavorts with prostitutes only serves to emphasise his true character. Taken by itself, the plot shows similarities to the work of Thomas Hardy in its emphasis on a strong female lead who is placed in jeopardy by the men she attracts. Consciously or not, Wharton also seeks to make connections with the landscape, creating an affinity between Charity and her Mountain roots. Whether this succeeds or not is another matter.< Less
The Age of Innocence By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.65
Originally published in 1920, first as a serial in the Pictorial Review and then as a book by D. Appleton, The Age of Innocence went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, making Wharton the first woman to... More > achieve such a distinction. The plot centres upon the love interests of the principal character, Newland Archer as he navigates his way between his attraction for two different women, May Welland, an American debutante who is both eligible yet in all respects mundane, and Countess Olenska, a European aristocrat trapped in a loveless marriage who holds the promise of excitement and fulfilment. On the surface, the novel is an examination of society mores, covering subjects including infidelity, desire and the issue of divorce. Where it differs from other novels in the Wharton oeuvre, especially The House of Mirth, is in concentrating on the man in between, the one who might, from the perspective of May Welland, be the source of ire, or from the perspective of Olenska, the one who might cause the stigma of divorce.< Less
Crucial Instances By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.60
Originally published in 1901, Crucial Instances is a collection of six short stories connected, as the title suggests, by a hinging moment in the narrative through which the plot alters dramatically.... More > In The Angel at the Grave, Paulina Anson finds herself the sole custodian of her grandfather's inheritance; an old, grand, but oppressive house and, perhaps worse, philosophical achievements that were once lauded but now forgotten so that only his name is remembered. When she researches and completes his biography she is told by a publisher that there is no public interest at all. Wharton commits two-thirds of this short story creating a morbid sense of depression and failure before, with a ring of the door-bell, she transforms Paulina's predicament.< Less
Glimpses of the Moon By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.61
Originally published in 1922, Glimpses of the Moon is a novel about marriage concentrating on the relationship between Nick and Sue Lancing, a couple hindered by a lack of wealth and the consequent... More > necessity of relying on friends and acquaintances to support a life in high society. Nick is a writer struggling to make ends meet while Sue is left to meet their needs through the generosity of others. Their marriage teeters on the stated understanding that if either of them finds a better opportunity – if they meet somebody with better prospects – then an uncontested divorce might follow. Naturally this creates problems, but it also enables Wharton to develop ideas about what a marriage should entail and what makes it vital.< Less
Here and Beyond By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.66
Originally published in 1926, Here and Beyond is a collection of six short stories previously released in various magazines. Two of these tales, The Young Gentleman and Bewitched, display distinct... More > gothic leaning in their emphasis on looming architecture and the slow reveal of hidden secrets. The first story, Miss Mary Pask, pays strong tribute to Edgar Allen Poe's Fall of the House of Usher with the eponymous character suffering from a 'cataleptic trance' which leaves her with appearance of death. In the resolution, Wharton deviates from the more cataclysmic solution offered by Poe, but retains an emphasis on the fragility of the narrator.< Less
Hudson River Bracketed By Edith Wharton
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One of Edith Wharton's unjustly neglected novels, Hudson River Bracketed features two strong protagonists - Vance Weston and Halo Spear. The former is an undereducated young man who arrives in New... More > York with a keen desire to write. Halo Spear is a brilliant, accomplished young woman who introduces Vance to literature and they form a deep bond, which flourishes and endures despite the hardships of Vance's life, the disappointments of Halo's - and their respective marriages.< Less
The House of Mirth By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.64
Originally published in 1905, The House of Mirth was Wharton's first major novel and arguably her best. It recounts the downward course of the socially aspirant Lilly Bart who is seemingly superior... More > in intellect and beauty than any of her peers and yet is critically constrained financially. Her only sensible recourse, marriage into money, is denied her while the alternative, marriage for love and companionship, she rejects to her cost. On the surface, the novel is an examination of mannerisms in contemporary American society. Lilly Bart is the finest example of all that is required within her social set and while she has the funds – or can secure the funds – necessary to maintain her standing, her peers accept her presence. Yet when she falls financially, not even her looks and abilities are sufficient to keep her from poverty.< Less
Bunner Sisters By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.64
Originally published in 1916, but actually written in 1890, Bunner Sisters is a novella about social exclusion and deprivation. The sisters of the title, Anna Eliza and Evelina scrape a living from... More > selling simple haberdashery items such as buttons, trims and ribbons. Their lives are mundane and in all respects unrewarding in the ordinary sense, but they are sustained by their dedication and love for each other. However, their existence is disturbed when the birthday gift of a clock serves to introduce a mysterious stranger in the form of a clockmaker. The novella is noteworthy for its assumed influence by the real-life Bunner Brothers, Henry and Rudolph who had literary and artistic talents respectively and were within the same social circle as Wharton in late nineteenth century America. To what extent this can be pursued remains open to question, but the coincidences are plain, even if the renown of the Bunners diminished significantly after their deaths.< Less
The Custom of the Country By Edith Wharton
eBook (ePub): $1.64
Originally published in 1913, The Custom of the Country is a full length novel about the incessant rise of Undine Spragg, an attractive, vivacious woman of the American Mid-West who is fuelled by... More > ambition, and greed, combined with an all too obvious disregard for the feelings of anyone else except herself. Using marriage and divorce as the means to an end, Undine is at once a loathsome creature yet at the same time one with whom the reader can associate with or even root for. She is an archetype anti-heroine; perhaps a step removed or rather a continent displaced from say Becky Sharpe. While Wharton's plot is almost by necessity presented as a complex web revolving around Undine's exploits, it is at the same time secondary to the presentation of Undine's character. There's no sense of evolution in the way she is presented, it's clear from the first words, Mrs Spragg's impassioned and frankly rhetorical question, that Undine has a way about her.< Less

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