Edith Wharton was a prominent American novelist, short story writer, and designer. She was born on January 24, 1862, and died on August 11, 1937. Wharton is best known for her novels exploring the lives of the upper-class society into which she was born. She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921 for her novel 'The Age of Innocence'. Her other notable works include 'Ethan Frome' and 'The House of Mirth'. Wharton's writing style is characterized by her keen social insights and her portrayal of the American aristocracy of her time.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
Set in the 1870s, the novel revolves around Newland Archer, a young lawyer from New York's high society, who is engaged to the beautiful and conventional May Welland. His life takes a turn when he meets May's cousin, the Countess Ellen Olenska, who has returned from Europe after leaving her scandalous husband. Torn between his duty and passion, Archer struggles with the constraints of the society he is a part of. The book offers a vivid portrayal of the struggle between individual desires and societal expectations in the upper-class New York society of the late 19th century.
Set in the backdrop of New York's high society during the turn of the 20th century, the novel follows the life of Lily Bart, a beautiful but impoverished woman of social standing. As she navigates the pressures and expectations of her social circle, Lily grapples with the need to secure a wealthy husband to maintain her lifestyle. However, her romantic inclinations and her desire for personal freedom come into conflict with societal norms, leading to her tragic downfall.
3. Ethan Frome
Set in a bleak New England landscape, the book tells the story of Ethan Frome, a poor, hardworking farmer who is married to a sickly, bitter woman named Zeena. When Zeena's young cousin Mattie comes to live with them, Ethan becomes infatuated with her, leading to a tragic love triangle. The narrative explores themes of passion, duty, and the oppressive nature of rural poverty.
The book follows the ambitious and cunning Undine Spragg, a beautiful Midwestern girl who marries her way into New York high society. Undine's insatiable desire for wealth, status, and comfort leads her through a series of marriages and divorces, each time climbing higher on the social ladder. However, her ruthless pursuit of success and disregard for social norms ultimately leave her feeling empty and dissatisfied. The novel offers a critique of American society and its values during the early 20th century.
This anthology brings together a diverse collection of narratives that delve into the complexities of human nature, social mores, and the subtle intricacies of personal relationships during the turn of the 20th century. The stories, penned by a prominent figure in American literature, often explore the lives of the upper-class society and the constraints imposed by its rigid conventions. With keen psychological insight and a sharp eye for detail, the author weaves tales that reveal the underlying tensions and hypocrisies of the time, while also highlighting the struggles of individuals—particularly women—as they navigate the social landscape of their era.