The New York Stories of Edith Wharton

The New York Stories of Edith Wharton

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 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.

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
File size: 739 KB

About 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.

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


Educated privately in New York and Europe

Table of Contents

Mrs. Manstey's View
The Good May Come
The Portrait
A Cup of Cold Water
A Journey
The Rembrandt
The Other Two
The Quicksand
The Dilettante
The Reckoning
The Pot-Boiler
His Father's Son
Full Circle
Autres Temps . . . 
The Long Run
After Holbein
Pomegranate Seed
Roman Fever

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The New York Stories of Edith Wharton 2.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The New York Stories of Edith Wharton is a collection of 20 stories that Edith Wharton wrote over the course of her career. The stories are presented in the order in which they were published, so you get to see how Wharton¿s style grew over time. Her stories cover a wide range of people and places, from industrialists to artists and from ballrooms to tenements.In her novels, such as The House of Mirth or The Age of Innocence, Wharton tends to focus on the upper classes of turn-of-the-century New York, but what I like about her short stories is that she focuses on a wide range of people. Many of the stories have been published in other volumes (ie, ¿Pomegranate Seed¿ also appears in the Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton), but what I like about this collection really shows how she matured as a writer, from her first published story, ¿Mrs. Manstey¿s View¿ to ¿Roman Fever,¿ her last.The collection also showcases how New York, and in a larger sense, American, society changed between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Although Edith Wharton frequently satirizes the society of which she knew so much, there¿s still a deep love and respect for it¿after all, Wharton wrote what she knew the most about. According to the Introduction, ¿Edith learned the rules of this formal, restrained world, but she felt the presence of another unacknowledged one that seethed around her like an invisible mist. This was the one of emotions and ideas.¿ The conflict between the world she grew up in and the second is at the heart of these stories. I was interested in watching how many of her characters struggle with being an outsider or having an obsession with money, both qualities held Woburn in ¿A Cup of Cold Water.¿ In all, a fine collection of stories.
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