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Author:  Edith/ Johnson Wharton Introduction:  Diane Johnson
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The Custom of the Country Wharton, Edith/ Johnson, Diane (INT) 1 of 1
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Learn more about The Custom of the Country:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0375758070
ISBN-13: 9780375758072
Sku: 30801588
Publish Date: 10/1/2001
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 8H x 5.25L x 1T
Pages:  400
Edition Number:  2001
Age Range:  NA
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"Undine Spragg--how CAN you?" her mother wailed, raising a prematurely-wrinkled hand heavy with rings to defend the note which a languid "bell-boy" had just brought in. (from the first line)
Undine Spragg, selfish and spoiled, determines to gain admittance into turn-of-the-century New York society. *Author: Wharton, Edith/ Johnson, Diane (INT) *Series Title: Modern Library Classics *Publication Date: 2001/10/01 *Number of Pages: 380 *Binding Type: Paperbound *Language: English *Depth: 1.00 *Width: 5.25 *Height: 8.00
From the Publisher:
Highly acclaimed at its publication in 1913, The Custom of the Country is a cutting commentary on America’s nouveaux riches, their upward-yearning aspirations and their eventual downfalls. Through her heroine, the beautiful and ruthless Undine Spragg, a spoiled heiress who looks to her next materialistic triumph as her latest conquest throws himself at her feet, Edith Wharton presents a startling, satiric vision of social behavior in all its greedy glory. As Undine moves from America’s heartland to Manhattan, and then to Paris, Wharton’s critical eye leaves no social class unscathed.
Considered one of Wharton's best novels, THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY marks her return to the satiric tone of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. Through the Marvell family, Wharton illustrates how a corrupt society distorts character and identity. She follows Ralph Marvell, bored, rich, and utterly passive, who spends his family's modest inheritance to strive for happiness. Wharton distinguishes between the old guard, full of dignity, and the nouveau riche Spragg family, who are unscrupulous in their dealings.THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY marks Edith Wharton's return to the satiric tone of THE HOUSE OF MIRTH. She follows bored, passive Ralph Marvell, a gentle young man with the heart of a poet, as he squanders his family's modest inheritance in an attempt to find happiness. But the real star of Wharton's narrative is the beautiful, ambitious, and blatantly amoral schemer, Undine Spragg, who manipulates her nouveau-riche Midwestern parents into taking her East. There she rampages through New York society in search of a wealthy husband--who turns out, disastrously, to be Ralph Marvell. Wharton savages the vulgar Spraggs, who live only for money and what it can bring, while appreciating the culture and traditional values of the old guard. But her satiric eye spares no one: with the genteel Marvell family, Wharton illustrates how completely a corrupt society can affect individual characters no matter how they try to resist. Considered one of Edith Wharton's greatest novels, THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY is also notable for the author's understanding of the power of the media--of gossip and sensationalism--even in the 1870s.
Author Bio
Edith Wharton
Born to a wealthy New York family, Edith Wharton, who eventually wrote over 50 works, spent much of her childhood in Europe developing an appreciation for the arts. In 1885 she married a wealthy banker, Edward Robbins Wharton, and turned to writing--books on decorating, then novels. In 1906, Wharton moved to Paris where she was engaged in a passionate affair with Morton Fullerton. In 1913 she divorced her husband. By this time, Wharton had achieved fame and began spending time among a society of writers and intellectuals that included Henry James. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, just one of her many classic works, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1920. In addition to her novels, Wharton produced poetry, travel books, and literary criticism.

Diane Johnson loved books as a child, and always read voraciously. She married at 19 and moved to Los Angeles, where her husband B. Lamar Johnson attended medical school. She divorced him and married medical professor John Frederic Murray in 1968. She has four children and has lived chiefly in California, but also, extensively, in Paris. Diane Johnson received her B.A. from the University of Utah in 1957, and earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California. In addition to writing fiction, nonfiction and essays, Johnson has been a university professor. She also collaborated with Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of "The Shining" in 1980.


" a work of satire it is powerful... Mrs. Wharton is a good hater..." - William Lyon Phelps 07/1916

"... a return to the rich, sure ground of New York and the novel of manners, only this time the central character in the conflict of social groups is not a victim but an invader... The story of how she hews her way through the old New York ranks is vivid and fascinating." - Louis Auchincloss

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeEdition:   2001
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0400
Product attributePublisher:   Modern Library
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