Born in New York into a world of wealth and privilege, and writing with unique insight into the lives of the rich and fashionable, Edith Wharton was a best-seller in her time, and is now, again, one of the most widely read American authors. This book provides an accessible and stimulating introduction to Wharton’s life and writings, to help map her work for new readers, and to encourage more detailed exploration of her texts and contexts. Suggesting a range of perspectives on her most famous novels – The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), The Custom of the Country (1913) and The Age of Innocence (1920) – it stimulates fresh lines of inquiry, examining these alongside other writings that are now attracting lively critical interest. With its clear structure, illustrations, and guide to further study, this book will form the ideal starting-point for students and for general readers.
Preface; 1. Life; 2. Contexts; 3. Works; 4. Critical reception; Guide to further reading; Index.