A Son at the Front / Edition 1

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Overview

Wharton's antiwar masterpiece, now once again available, probes the devastation of World War I on the home front. Interweaving her own experiences of the Great War with themes of parental and filial love, art and self-sacrifice, national loyalties and class privilege, Wharton tells an intimate and captivating story of war behind the lines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Extraordinarily poignant.... Heartrending, tragic, powerful, this is not to be missed."—Publishers Weekly

"Wharton has done nothing that equals this."—New York Times Book Review (1923)

"Wharton has painted a moving landscape."—War, Literature & the Arts

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Largely criticized or ignored by a war-weary public when it was originally published in 1922, A Son at the Front is an extraordinarily poignant novel chronicling the effects of WWI on painter John Campton and his only child, George. Because his American parents were visiting France at the time of his birth, George is called to duty in the French army. Campton, his ex-wife, Julia Brant, and her husband, wealthy banker Anderson Brant, immediately butt heads over how to keep George safely at a desk job. Fate intervenes in the person of George himself, who transfers to an infantry regimentto the horror of Julia and the secret admiration of Brant and Campton. As the war rages on, Campton learns not only the value of his son, but empathy and sensitivity: ``never before, at least not consciously, [had] he thought of himself and the few beings he cared for as part of a greater whole.... But the last four months had shown him man as a defenceless animal.... That was what war did; that was why those who best understood it in all its farthest-reaching abomination willingly gave their lives to put an end to it.'' Wharton movingly portrays those left behind during warnot the wives and children but the devastated parents, who are forced to go on living at the cost of their own flesh and blood. Heartrending, tragic, powerful, this is not to be missed. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875805689
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 223
  • Sales rank: 1,045,149
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She is the author of such classics in American literature as The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence, and Ethan Frome.

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-Forêt, France

Table of Contents


Table of Contents

Introduction by Shari Benstock
Book One: Chapters I–IX
Book Two: Chapters X–XXIII
Book Three: Chapters XXIV–XXXI
Book Four: Chapters XXXII–XXXVI

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