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Fast and Loose and The Buccaneers

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With an Edith Wharton revival well under way, Fast and Loose, a romantic first novel begun when Wharton was fourteen, and The Buccaneers, left unfinished when she died at seventy-five, are now back in print and available for the first time in one edition.
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Overview

With an Edith Wharton revival well under way, Fast and Loose, a romantic first novel begun when Wharton was fourteen, and The Buccaneers, left unfinished when she died at seventy-five, are now back in print and available for the first time in one edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the alpha and omega of a brilliant literary career, the two works gathered here are of interest chiefly to scholars. Fast and Loose , Wharton's first full-length work, was composed in 1876-77 when she was only 14, and, although its thematic concern with social standing and individual happiness anticipates the novels of her maturity, its plotting and characterization clearly reveal the hand of a juvenile. The boldest and most original section, in fact, is outside the work itself. Her own harshest (and truest) critic, Wharton appended three ``reviews,'' one of which reads: ``Is not the author very, very like a sick-sentimental school-girl who has begun her work with a fierce and bloody resolve to make it as bad as certain popular fiction & has ended with a blush, & a general erasure of all the naughty words which her modest vocabulary could furnish?'' By contrast, The Buccaneers , left unfinished at Wharton's death in 1937, manifests a consummate artistry. (See Fiction Forecasts, June 28, for a review of Viking's Buccaneers as completed by Marion Mainwaring.) Included here is a facsimile of the version published by Wharton's literary executor in 1938; although Winner's textual notes are purely academic (e.g., ``That Eglinton girl had'' in one manuscript reads as ``That Eglinton girl there'' in another), her edition valiantly preserves the manuscript as a work-in-progress. Winner edited The Letters of Henry Adams. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813914831
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Pages: 514
  • Product dimensions: 5.57 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 1.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Viola Hopkins Winner, an editor of The Letters of Henry Adams, has written widely on American literature.

University of Virginia Press

Biography

Edith Newbold Jones was born January 24, 1862, into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly.

After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society. Wharton's first major novel, The House of Mirth, published in 1905, enjoyed considerable Literary Success. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist. Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

In 1913 Edith divorced Edward. She lived mostly in France for the remainder of her life. When World War I broke out, she organized hostels for refugees, worked as a fund-raiser, and wrote for American publications from battlefield frontlines. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor for her courage and distinguished work.

The Age of Innocence, a novel about New York in the 1870s, earned Wharton the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1921 -- the first time the award had been bestowed upon a woman. Wharton traveled throughout Europe to encourage young authors. She also continued to write, lying in her bed every morning, as she had always done, dropping each newly penned page on the floor to be collected and arranged when she was finished. Wharton suffered a stroke and died on August 11, 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Age of Innocence.

Good To Know

Upon the publication of The House of Mirth in 1905, Wharton became an instant celebrity, and the the book was an instant bestseller, with 80,000 copies ordered from Scribner's six weeks after its release.

Wharton had a great fondness for dogs, and owned several throughout her life.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Edith Newbold Jones Wharton (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 24, 1862
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      August 11, 1937
    2. Place of Death:
      Saint-Brice-sous-ForĂȘt, France

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