The House of Mirth (Paperback)

Author: Wharton, Edith

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Product Overview

Introduction by Pamela Knights

"From the Hardcover edition."


Publisher Bantam Classic & Loveswept
Mfg Part# 9780553213201
SKU 30098872
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0553213202
Release Date 9/1/1997
Author Info
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.
"There is perhaps no more searing indictment of the cruelties of capitalism... THE HOUSE OF MIRTH is a cruel book, but it is not a cynical one... Nowhere else in fiction are the contradictions--economic, social, sexual--embodied in the person of the desirable female explored with a clearer eye."
"THE HOUSE OF MIRTH appears to be the novel of the season...[and] has occasioned the most discussion of a serious sort. It is a work which has enlisted the matured powers of a writer whose performance is always distinguished, and whose coupling of psychological insight with the gift of expression is probably not surpassed by any other woman novelist of our time."
"There are certain subjects too shallow to yield anything to the most searching gaze... Now my problem was how to make use of a subject--fashionable New York--which, of all ofthers, seemed most completely to fall within the condemned category... A frivolous society can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys... The answer was my heroine, Lily Bart."
"[U]niquely authentic among American novels of manners."
"Perhaps the finest study of American social life, certainly the strongest and most artistic novel of the year...."
"The first pages of this novel make it obvious, even if the writer's name had not conveyed the information, that we have to consider a serious work of fiction....There is no doubt that Mrs. Wharton has so illuminated THE HOUSE OF MIRTH for us that we shall not soon forget it."
From the Publisher
Annotation Published in 1905, Edith Wharton's first novel, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH, navigates the murky waters of class-bound courtship and marriage in turn-of-the-century upper-crust Manhattan. Ironic, sharp, and tragic, the novel follows beautiful, orphaned Lily Bart in her search for a rich husband--the only route open to her if she is to survive in a ruthlessly materialistic world. Mercilessly, Wharton exposes the cruelty and indifference of a society in which such a woman has no role except to be exploited and looked down upon. Nor does she neglect to expose the vanity and delusions of poor Lily herself--qualities that undermine her considerable intelligence and charm. As always, Wharton is writing about a world she knows first-hand, and one in which she suffered her own trials. The complex and poignant tale of Lily Bart is one of her most popular and successful novels
Editors Note An immensely popular bestseller upon its publication in 1905, The House of Mirth was Edith Wharton?s first great novel. Set among the elegant brownstones of New York City and opulent country houses like gracious Bellomont on the Hudson, the novel creates a satiric portrayal of what Wharton herself called ?a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers? with a precision comparable to that of Proust. And her brilliant and complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, becomes an incisive commentary on the nature and status of women in that society. From her tragic attraction to bachelor lawyer Lawrence Selden to her desperate relationship with social-climbing Rosedale, Lily is all too much a product of the world indicated by the title, a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes: ?The heart of fools is in the house of mirth.? For it is Lily?s very specialness that threatens the elegance and fulfillment she seeks in life. Along with the author?s other masterpiece, The Age of Innocence, this novel claims a place among the finest American novels of manners.
Editors Note 2 Lily Bart's strivings for wealth, status, and position in New York society lead to blackmail, despair, and financial reversal after she refuses to marry for money. Reissue.
Product Attributes
eBooks Kobo
Book Format Pocketbook
Number of Pages 0464
Publisher Bantam Classics

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