The New York Stories of Edith Wharton

The New York Stories of Edith Wharton

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by Edith Wharton, Roxana Robinson
     
 

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A New York Review Books Original

Edith Wharton wrote about New York as only a native can. Her Manhattan is a city of well-appointed drawing rooms, hansoms and broughams, all-night cotillions, and resplendent Fifth Avenue flats. Bishops’ nieces mingle with bachelor industrialists; respectable wives turn into excellent mistresses. All are governed by

Overview

A New York Review Books Original

Edith Wharton wrote about New York as only a native can. Her Manhattan is a city of well-appointed drawing rooms, hansoms and broughams, all-night cotillions, and resplendent Fifth Avenue flats. Bishops’ nieces mingle with bachelor industrialists; respectable wives turn into excellent mistresses. All are governed by a code of behavior as rigid as it is precarious. What fascinates Wharton are the points of weakness in the structure of Old New York: the artists and writers at its fringes, the free-love advocates testing its limits, widows and divorcées struggling to hold their own. 

The New York Stories of Edith Wharton gathers twenty stories of the city, written over the course of Wharton’s career. From her first published story, “Mrs. Manstey’s View,” to one of her last and most celebrated, “Roman Fever,” this new collection charts the growth of an American master and enriches our understanding of the central themes of her work, among them the meaning of marriage, the struggle for artistic integrity, the bonds between parent and child, and the plight of the aged.

Illuminated by Roxana Robinson’s Introduction, these stories showcase Wharton’s astonishing insight into the turbulent inner lives of the men and women caught up in a rapidly changing society.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If these stories have a defining subject (other than New York) it is divorce, which begins to replace art as Wharton's excuse for discussing the fashionable and the real. In fact, one of the pleasures of a collection like this is that you can trace her tendencies in it? and the way they develop." --Time Literary Supplement

“Edith Wharton, whose deft portraits of the upper class are taken as definitive accounts of the late 19th century, remains one of the most potent names in the literature of New York.” –The New York Times (Christopher Gray)

“Wharton was Old New York…[her family] belonged to that tiny but powerful New York clan…who clung together, intermarried, set the tone and made the rules for society in Manhattan…Her New York fiction spans the years from, roughly, 1840 through the turn of the century–from before her birth, in other words, through the Civil War and beyond into the Gilded Age, an era of tremendous transformation in American society.” –The New York Times (Charles McGrath)

“Yet for all her reservations about New York, Wharton still visited and…she continued to set most of her books and stories here–in a remembered New York and what she imagined to be the New York of her parents and grandparents. The city became for her a social topography and a deep vein to be mined, both a real place and a symbolic landscape.” –The New York Times (Charles McGrath)

“Mrs. Wharton had her turf, that almost sepia New York, to be turned over and over again, like setting the plow to the family farm every spring.” –The New York Review of Books (Elizabeth Hardwick)

“New York City [is] the setting of Wharton’s finest fictions.” –The New York Observer

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590174364
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
08/17/2011
Series:
NYRB Classics Series
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
437,338
File size:
739 KB

Meet the Author

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was born in New York City. Her father, George Jones, was a relative of the Joneses that fashionable people proverbially strive to keep up with; her mother, Lucretia Rhinelander, came from one of the city’s oldest families. Raised in New York and in Europe, Edith Jones was twenty-three when she married Edward Robbins Wharton (known as Teddy). In 1902 they built themselves a forty-two-room house, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts, but Teddy’s mental instability and financial irregularities led to a divorce in 1913, after which Edith moved to France, where she lived for the rest of her life. During the First World War, Wharton threw herself into war relief, traveling to the front lines and founding a charity for refugees, in recognition of which she was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1916. Wharton published her first book, a collection of poems, in her teens and in 1897 achieved popular success as co-author of The Decoration of Houses, a treatise on aesthetics and interior design. Her first volume of short stories, The Greater Inclination, came out in 1899. Among the most famous of her many novels are The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1912), The Custom of the Country (1913), and The Age of Innocence (1920), for which she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1921, the first woman to do so.

Roxana Robinson is the author of a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe and of six books of fiction, including the novelSweetwater and the story collection A Perfect Stranger. She is a Guggenheim Fellow and lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
January 24, 1862
Date of Death:
August 11, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France
Education:
Educated privately in New York and Europe

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