Edith Wharton

Biography

(1862-1937)

American writer Edith Wharton (born in New York City in 1862 as Edith Newbold Jones) was one of the most important female authors of her generation. Born to a distinguished and wealthy old New York family, Edith travelled abroad extensively with her family and read voraciously, borrowing books from her father's library when she exhausted what was then considered proper reading for young ladies. She published her first book of poems at age 16 and wrote novellas and short stories. After her marriage to Boston's wealthy Edward Wharton, Edith began to write more extensively (modelling much of her work after Henry James, with whom she was close). Her first major novel, The House of Mirth, was a bestseller when it was published in 1905. Edith lived in Europe for most of her adult life, where she continued to write short stories, essays (particularly about World War I and countries she visited), and novels, including The Age of Innocence. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize, and Edith became the first woman ever to accept the literary honor. Edith was an accomplished designer and published books and essays on interior and garden design. She was a leading intellectual of her era, claiming friendships with Henry and William James, Theodore Roosevelt, and Sinclair Lewis. Edith divorced her husband in 1913 and lived in France until her death in 1937. Her transparent and sometimes biting criticism of her own upper-echelon society captures the Realistic and Naturalistic movements of the period, and her detailed writing, though fiction, is considered a major contribution to modern understanding of pre-World War I America. (Sarah Juchau)

See also

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Wharton http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/641481/Edith-Wharton http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Edith_Wharton http://literature.proquest.com/searchFullrec.do?id=3225&area=authors&forward=author&trailId=14ADF2704AF&activeMultiResults=authors

Essays by Edith Wharton

February

There is no explanation of the crowding of the other department [stores] except the fact that woman, however valiant, however tried, however suffering and however self-denying, must eventually, in the long run, and at whatever cost to her pocket and her ideals, begin to shop again.

Harems and Ceremonies

To occidental travelers the most vivid impression produced by a first contact with the Near East is the surprise of being in a country where the human element increases instead of diminishing the delight of the eye. Nothing is as democratic in appearance as a society of which the whole structure hangs on the whim of one man.

Reverence

The deeper civilization of a country may to a great extent be measured by the care she gives to her flower-garden, the corner of her life where the supposedly "useless" arts and graces flourish.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana by Patrick Madden
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