One of Edith Wharton's most accomplished social satires, this novel tells the story of the beautiful but impoverished New York socialite Lily Bart, whose refusal to compromise in her search for a husband leads to her exclusion from polite society. In charting the course of Lily's life and downfall, Wharton also provides a wider picture of a society in transition, a milieu in which old certainties, manners, and morals no longer hold true, and where the individual has become an expendable commodity. This classic American novel is now available in a Broadview edition that includes a critical introduction and a rich selection of contextual documents. Appendices include Wharton's correspondence about The House of Mirth, contemporary articles on social mores, etiquette, and dress, and related writings by Henry James, Thorstein Veblen, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
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
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- February 21, 2003
- September 30, 2005
- Edith Wharton