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Portable Edith Wharton

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ISBN-10: 0142437581

ISBN-13: 9780142437582

Edition: 2003

Authors: Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin

List price: $16.00
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Best known for her novels depicting the stifling conformity and ceremoniousness of the upper-class New York society into which she was born, Edith Wharton also wrote brilliantly in many genres: essays, travel pieces, memoirs, and a variety of short stories. This unique collection provides a fresh look at Wharton's genius by including a generous sampling of her short stories, along with nonfiction, letters, excerpts from the novels The House of Mirth, The Reef, and The Age of Innocence, and Summer, reprinted in its entirety. Also included in this volume is an introduction by Linda Wagner-Martin, who examines the life and literary accomplishments of Edith Wharton, a chronology, notes, and bibliography. Edited with an introduction by Linda Wagner-Martin.
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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 7/29/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 688
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Edith Wharton was a woman of extreme contrasts; brought up to be a leisured aristocrat, she was also dedicated to her career as a writer. She wrote novels of manners about the old New York society from which she came, but her attitude was consistently critical. Her irony and her satiric touches, as well as her insight into human character, continue to appeal to readers today. As a child, Wharton found refuge from the demands of her mother's social world in her father's library and in making up stories. Her marriage at age 23 to Edward ("Teddy") Wharton seemed to confirm her place in the conventional role of wealthy society woman, but she became increasingly dissatisfied with the "mundanities" of her marriage and turned to writing, which drew her into an intellectual community and strengthened her sense of self. After publishing two collections of short stories, The Greater Inclination (1899) and Crucial Instances (1901), she wrote her first novel, The Valley of Decision (1902), a long, historical romance set in eighteenth-century Italy. Her next work, the immensely popular The House of Mirth (1905), was a scathing criticism of her own "frivolous" New York society and its capacity to destroy her heroine, the beautiful Lily Bart. As Wharton became more established as a successful writer, Teddy's mental health declined and their marriage deteriorated. In 1907 she left America altogether and settled in Paris, where she wrote some of her most memorable stories of harsh New England rural life---Ethan Frome (1911) and Summer (1917)---as well as The Reef (1912), which is set in France. All describe characters forced to make moral choices in which the rights of individuals are pitted against their responsibilities to others. She also completed her most biting satire, The Custom of the Country (1913), the story of Undine Spragg's climb, marriage by marriage, from a midwestern town to New York to a French chateau. During World War I, Wharton dedicated herself to the war effort and was honored by the French government for her work with Belgian refugees. After the war, the world Wharton had known was gone. Even her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence (1920), a story set in old New York, could not recapture the former time. Although the new age welcomed her---Wharton was both a critical and popular success, honored by Yale University and elected to The National Institute of Arts and Letters---her later novels show her struggling to come to terms with a new era. In The Writing of Fiction (1925), Wharton acknowledged her debt to her friend Henry James, whose writings share with hers the descriptions of fine distinctions within a social class and the individual's burdens of making proper moral decisions. R.W.B. Lewis's biography of Wharton, published in 1975, along with a wealth of new biographical material, inspired an extensive reevaluation of Wharton. Feminist readings and reactions to them have focused renewed attention on her as a woman and as an artist. Although many of her books have recently been reprinted, there is still no complete collected edition of her work.

LINDA WAGNER-MARTIN is Frank Borden Hanes Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. She writes widely on twentieth-century American literature, biography, women's writing and pedagogy. Her publications includeA Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway(2000),William Faulkner: Six Decades of Criticism(2002),Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life(1999/2003),Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald(2004) andHemingway: Eight Decades of Criticism(2009).

Short Fiction
Souls Belated
The Muse's Tragedy
The Choice
The Lady's Maid's Bell
The Other Two
The Hermit and the Wild Woman
His Father's Son
The Eyes
The Letters
Autres Temps ...
Coming Home
Writing a War Story
From the House of Mirth: Chapters I and II
From The Reef: Chapters XXIII through XXVI
From The Age of Innocence: Chapters XXX and XXXI
To Edward L. Burlingame, July 30, 1894
To Edward L. Burlingame, December 14, 1895
To Sara Norton, February 28, 1901
To Sara Norton, November 25, 1901
To Annie Adams Fields, Summer 1902
To William Crary Brownell, September 12, 1902
To Sara Norton, March 17, 1903
To Sara Norton, June 5, 1903
To William Crary Brownell, June 25, 1904
To Charles Scribner, November 11, 1905
To Dr. Morgan Dix, December 5, 1905
To W. Morton Fullerton, October 15, 1907
To Robert Grant, November 19, 1907
To W. Morton Fullerton, February 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, March 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, April 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, May 20, 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, June 19, 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, August 26, 1908
To W. Morton Fullerton, June 19, 1912
To Sara Norton, September 2, 1914
To Henry James, March 11, 1915
To Bernard Berenson, September 4, 1917
From A Midsummer Week's Dream: August in Italy
From Paris to Poitiers
In Argonne
From In Lorraine and the Vosges
Explanatory Notes
Selected Bibliography