Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

Book - 2007
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Born in 1862, during the Civil War, Edith Wharton broke away from her wealthy background. She travelled extensively in Europe, eventually settling in Paris. This biography delves into various aspects of Wharton's extraordinary life-story, shifting the emphasis towards Europe & placing her in her social context & her history.
Publisher: London : Chatto & Windus, 2007
Description: [ix], 853 p, [24] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780701166656
Branch Call Number: 813.09 Wha


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Dec 21, 2008

The approach of this biography is more thematic than chronological, so I wouldn't recommend this as a first introduction to the life of Edith Wharton - the RWB Lewis bio is still probably best for that. But this is still an engrossing new examination of Wharton as an artist, person and influencer. This book also has some of the best insights I've found so far into the complex relationship between Wharton, Henry James and his circle.

I would conclude that likely no one will ever have the complete picture of this complex woman and artist, in part because she destroyed some of her correspondence along the way, and her closest relationships were with two equally enigmatic individuals - Walter Berry and Morton Fullerton. As challenging as this book has been, though, I'm glad I stuck with it because I think it is the fullest, most precise and most respectful portrait of the incomparable Mrs. Wharton. It also provides concise yet incisive analyses of all of her major works.

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