(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Introduction by Pamela Knights
In The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton depicts the glittering salons of Gilded Age New York with precision and wit, even as she movingly portrays the obstacles that impeded women's choices at the turn of the century.
The beautiful, much-desired Lily Bart has been raised to be one of the perfect wives of the wealthy upper class, but her spark of character and independent drive prevents her from becoming one of the many women who will succeed in those circles. Though her desire for a comfortable life means that she cannot marry for love without money, her resistance to the rules of the social elite endangers her many marriage proposals. As Lily spirals down into debt and dishonor, her story takes on the resonance of classic tragedy. One of Wharton's most bracing and nuanced portraits of the life of women in a hostile, highly ordered world, The House of Mirth exposes the truths about American high society that its denizens most wished to deny.
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
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Love + Relationships + Sex, General, Classics, Conflicts + Dualities, Human Qualities + Behavior, Family + Friendship, Literary Genres + Types of Novels
- February 8, 2008
- February 8, 2008
- Edith Wharton