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Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton was born on 24 January, 1862 in New York and died in France on 11 August, 1937. She won the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence in 1920 and was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.

Many of her stories were set among New York’s high society at the turn of the century. She did not go to school but was a huge social success after her parents pushed her into attending elite gatherings in an attempt to get over her crippling shyness.


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Edith Wharton Books

  • The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BHHOQ
    Paperback
    Selected & Introduced by David Stuart Davies. Traumatised by ghost stories in her youth, Pulitzer Prize winning author Edith Wharton (1862 -1937) channelled her fear and obsession into creating a series of spine-tingling tales filled with spirits beyond the grave and other supernatural phenomena. While claiming not to believe in ghosts, paradoxically she did confess that she was frightened of them. Wharton imbues this potent irrational and imaginative fear into her ghostly fiction to great effect. In this unique collection of finely wrought tales Wharton demonstrates her mastery of the ghost story genre. Amongst the many supernatural treats within these pages you will encounter a married farmer bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell which saves a woman's reputation; the weird spectral eyes which terrorise the midnight hours of an elderly aesthete; the haunted man who receives letters from his dead wife; and the frightening power of a doppelganger which foreshadows a terrible tragedy. Compelling, rich and strange, the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, like vintage wine, have matured and grown more potent with the passing years.
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  • The House of Mirth

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: CDGOM
    Paperback
    A bestseller when it was published nearly a century ago, this literary classic established Edith Wharton as one of the most important American writers in the twentieth century-now with a new introduction from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan. Wharton's first literary success-a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York's aristocracy at the turn of the century-is considered by many to be her most important novel, and Lily Bart, her most unforgettable character. Impoverished but well-born, the beautiful and beguiling Lily realizes a secure future depends on her acquiring a wealthy husband. But with her romantic indiscretion, gambling debts, and a maelstrom of social disasters, Lily's ill-fated attempt to rise to the heights of society ultimately leads to her downfall. From the conventionality of old New York to the forced society of the French Riviera, Wharton weaves a brilliantly satiric yet sensitive exploration of manners and morality. The House of Mirth reveals Wharton's unparalleled gifts as a storyteller and her clear-eyed observations of the savagery beneath the well-bred surface of high society.
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  • Ethan Frome

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AFJSR
    Paperback
    'He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface'. Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena's vivacious cousin enters their household as a 'hired girl', Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction's finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio towards their tragic destinies. "The Penguin English Library" - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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  • Summer

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BZBLF
    Paperback
    A story of forbidden sexual passion and thwarted dreams set against the backdrop of a lush summer in rural Massachusetts Seventeen-year-old Charity Royall is desperate to escape life with her hard-drinking adoptive father. Their isolated village stifles her, and his behaviour increasingly disturbs her. When a young city architect visits for the summer, it offers Charity the chance to break free. But as they embark on an intense affair, will it bring her another kind of trap? Regarded by Edith Wharton as among her best novels, Summer caused a sensation in 1917 with its honest depiction of a young woman overturning the rules of her day and attempting to live on her own terms.
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  • The Age of Innocence

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BWKSW
    Hardback
    Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Age of Innocence, is both a poignant story of frustrated love and an extraordinarily vivid, delightfully satirical record of a vanished world. Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition features an introduction by award-winning novelist, Rachel Cusk. As the scion of one of New York's leading families, Newland Archer has been born into a life of sumptuous privilege and strict duty. But the arrival of the Countess Olenska, a free spirit who breathes clouds of European sophistication, makes him question the path on which his upbringing has set him. As his fascination with her grows, he discovers just how hard it is to escape the bonds of the society that has shaped him.
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  • The Age of Innocence

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BUSAB
    Paperback
    "The intelligent and charming Newland Archer - a member of one of New York's most prominent families - is living the life that has always been expected of him: he is a successful lawyer engaged to the beautiful and well-connected May Welland. However, with the arrival of May's cousin, the free-spirited and unconventional Countess Ellen Olenska, doubts begin to grow in Newland's mind. As the bond between them grows, Newland comes increasingly to question all that had once seemed so simple. An extraordinarily well-observed dissection of New York's high society in the 1870s - the world Edith Wharton grew up in - The Age of Innocence shines a critical light on the social mores and values of the old order."
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  • The Touchstone

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BUPZK
    Paperback
    "Stephen Glennard is in desperate need of money. So when he becomes aware of the potential value of a series of passionate love letters written to him by the recently deceased author Margaret Aubyn, he sells them and marries the beautiful Alexa Trent. However, his shame and guilt at building a new life on the betrayal of another's love slowly begins to eat away at him, and Margaret's memory has a power that can reach him from beyond the grave. The first of Edith Wharton's works depicting life in "old New York", The Touchstone is an acutely observed novella , and an exploration of the tension between self-serving opportunism and the desire to live a moral life."
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  • The Age of Innocence

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BMGOR
    Paperback
    Initially serialized in the Pictorial Review in 1920, The Age of Innocence is a stylistic and intimate portrayal of upper class life in New York City during the Gilded Age. Lawyer and socialite Newland Archer is about to enter a loveless marriage with a well-to-do bride, when her cousin, the exotic Ellen Olenska, enters the picture. Olenska is stuck in a bad marriage with a Polish count, and Archer finds himself in the awkward position of persuading her to save her family's reputation by staying with her husband, even though Archer himself has fallen in love with her. Combining a romantic tragedy with artful descriptions of aristocratic life in New York City, Edith Wharton's twelfth novel is now available as an elegantly designed clothbound edition with an elastic closure and a new introduction.
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  • The Age of Innocence

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BINEX
    Paperback
    WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LIONEL SHRIVER Newland Archer and May Welland are the perfect couple. He is a wealthy young lawyer and she is a lovely and sweet-natured girl. All seems set for success until the arrival of May's unconventional cousin Ellen Olenska, who returns from Europe without her husband and proceeds to shake up polite New York society. To Newland, she is a breath of fresh air and a free spirit, but the bond that develops between them throws his values into confusion and threatens his relationship with May. The Vintage Classics edition of The Age of Innocence is published to tie-in with the publication of the Vintage paperback of Hermione Lee's celebrated biography of Edith Wharton
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  • Ethan Frome, Summer, Bunner Sisters

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: BIFBV
    Hardback
    These brilliantly wrought, tragic novellas explore the repressed emotions and destructive passions of working-class people far removed from the social milieu usually inhabited by Edith Wharton's characters. "Ethan Frome" is one of Wharton's most famous works; it is a tightly constructed and almost unbearably heartbreaking story of forbidden love in a snowbound New England village. "Summer", also set in rural New England, is often considered a companion to "Ethan Frome" - Wharton herself called it 'the hot Ethan' - in its portrayal of a young woman's sexual and social awakening."Bunner Sisters" takes place in the narrow, dusty streets of late-nineteenth-century New York, where the constrained but peaceful lives of two spinster shopkeepers are shattered when they meet a man who becomes the unworthy focus of all their pent-up hopes. All three of these novellas feature realistic and haunting characters as vivid as any Wharton ever conjured, and together they provide a superb introduction to the shorter fiction of one of America's greatest writers.
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  • The Reckoning

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AZVKQ
    Paperback
    'If marriage was the slow life-long acquittal of a debt contracted in ignorance, then marriage was a crime against human nature.' Two moving stories of love, loss, desire and divorce, from one of the great chroniclers of nineteenth-century New York life. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Edith Wharton (1862-1937). Wharton's works available in Penguin Classics are Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth.
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  • The Reckoning

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AZTLY
    Paperback
    'If marriage was the slow life-long acquittal of a debt contracted in ignorance, then marriage was a crime against human nature.' Two moving stories of love, loss, desire and divorce, from one of the great chroniclers of nineteenth-century New York life. Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th-century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions. Edith Wharton (1862-1937). Wharton's works available in Penguin Classics are Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth.
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  • The House of Mirth

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AWRHN
    Hardback
    Lily Bart is twenty-nine, beautiful and charming. She has expensive tastes, loves to gamble and socializes with the wealthy upper-class families of New York. But her meagre finances are dwindling and her place in society is slipping away from her. Her only hope of security is to find a suitable husband. However, Lily has an independence of spirit that stands in the way of her committing to the suitors available to her. As her options diminish, her friends become her enemies and her situation grows increasing perilous. In The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton gives us a witty and piercingly insightful dark satire about the privileged society of early twentieth-century New York. This beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library edition of The House of Mirth features an introduction by novelist Danuta Reah. Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector's Library is a series of beautiful gift editions of much loved classic titles. Macmillan Collector's Library are books to love and treasure.
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  • Summer

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AONUU
    Paperback
    'Can't you see that I don't care what anybody says?' Charity Royall lives in the small New England village of North Dormer. Born among outcasts from the Mountain beyond, she is rescued by lawyer Royall and lives with him as his ward. Never allowed to forget her disreputable origins Charity despises North Dormer and rebels against the stifling dullness of the tight-knit community surrounding her. Her boring job in the local library is interrupted one day by the arrival of a young visiting architect, Lucius Harney, whose good looks and sophistication arouse her passionate nature. As their relationship grows, so too does Charity's conflict with her guardian; darker undercurrents start to come to the surface. Summer is often compared to Wharton's other New England story, Ethan Frome, and it shares the same intensity of feeling and repression. Wharton regarded it as one of her best works, and its compelling story of burgeoning sexuality and illicit desire has a strikingly modern and troubling ambiguity. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • The Custom of the Country

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AHHUB
    Paperback
    Edith Wharton's satiric anatomy of American society in the first decade of the twentieth century appeared in 1913; it both appalled and fascinated its first reviewers, and established her as a major novelist. The Saturday Review wrote that she had 'assembled as many detestable people as it is possible to pack between the covers of a six-hundred page novel', but concluded that the book was 'brilliantly written', and 'should be read as a parable'. It follows the career of Undine Spragg, recently arrived in New York from the midwest and determined to conquer high society. Glamorous, selfish, mercenary and manipulative, her principal assets are her striking beauty, her tenacity, and her father's money. With her sights set on an advantageous marriage, Undine pursues her schemes in a world of shifting values, where triumph is swiftly followed by dissullusion. Wharton was recreating an environment she knew intimately, and Undine's education for social success is chronicled in meticulous detail. The novel superbly captures the world of post-Civil War America, as ruthless in its social ambitions as in its business and politics. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • The House of Mirth

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AHHIR
    Paperback
    Since its publication in 1905 The House of Mirth has commanded attention for the sharpness of Wharton's observations and the power of her style. Its heroine, Lily Bart, is beautiful, poor, and unmarried at 29. In her search for a husband with money and position she betrays her own heart and sows the seeds of the tragedy that finally overwhelms her. The House of Mirth is a lucid, disturbing analysis of the stifling limitations imposed upon women of Wharton's generation. Herself born into Old New York Society, Wharton watched as an entirely new set of people living by new codes of conduct entered the metropolitan scene. In telling the story of Lily Bart, who must marry to survive, Wharton recasts the age-old themes of family, marriage, and money in ways that transform the traditional novel of manners into an arresting modern document of cultural anthropology. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • Ethan Frome

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AHGDJ
    Paperback
    'It was not so much his great height that marked him ...it was the careless powerful look that he had, in spite of a lameness checking each step like the jerk of a chain.' Set against the bleak winter landscape of New England, Ethan Frome tells the story of a poor farmer, lonely and downtrodden, his wife Zeena, and her cousin, the enchanting Mattie Silver. In the playing out of this short novel's powerful and engrossing drama, Edith Wharton constructed her least characteristic and most celebrated book. In its unyielding and shocking pessimism, its bleak demonstration of tragic waste, it is a masterpiece of psychological and emotional realism. In her introduction the distinguished critic Elaine Showalter discusses the background to the novel's composition and the reasons for its enduring success. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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  • Three Novels of New York

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AEWEK
    Paperback
    This title includes three beloved novels by Edith Wharton, in a couture-inspired Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition designed by a fashion illustrator for Alexander McQueen. This edition celebrates the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton's birth in 2012. "The House of Mirth": Nineteen year old Lily Bart is in need of a rich husband to safeguard her place in the social elite. Unwilling to marry without both love and money, Lily becomes vulnerable to gossip. Wharton charts the course of Lily's life, providing a wider picture of a society in transition; a changing New York where old manners, morals and family attitudes are being replaced by the view that an individual is an expendable commodity. "The Custom of the Country": Mr and Mrs Spragg are hoping to forge an entree into society and arrange a suitably ambitious match for their only daughter. Wharton's story of Undine Spragg affords us a detailed glimpse of the interior decor of upper-class America and its nouveau riche. Through a heroine who is as vain and spoiled as she is fascinating, Wharton conveys a vision of social behaviour that is both informed and disenchanted. "The Age of Innocence": When the Countess Ellen Olenska flees Europe and her brutish husband, her rebellious independence stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, already engaged to the Countess' cousin May Welland. As the drama unfolds, Edith Wharton's sharp ironic wit and Jamesian mastery of form create a disturbingly accurate picture of men and women caught in a society that denies humanity while desperately defending "civilisation".
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  • The House of Mirth

    Edith Wharton

    Product Code: AEECR
    Paperback
    'It was characteristic of her that she always roused speculation, that her simplest acts seemed the result of far-reaching intentions'. A searing, shocking tale of women as consumer items in a man's world, "The House of Mirth" sees Lily Bart, beautiful and charming, living among the wealthy families of New York but reluctant to finally commit herself to a husband. In her search for freedom and the happiness she feels she deserves, Lily is ultimately ruined by scandal. Edith Wharton's shattering novel created controversy on its publication in 1905 with its scathing portrayal of the world's wealthy and the prison that marriage can become. The Penguin English Library - 100 editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century and the very first novels to the beginning of the First World War.
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