Edith Wharton 1862—1937

Edith Wharton

About

Many of Wharton’s novels are characterised by a subtle use of dramatic irony. Having grown up in upper-class pre-World War I society, Wharton became one of its most astute critics. In such works as The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence she employed both humour and profound empathy to describe the lives of New York’s upper-class and the vanishing of their world in the early years of the 20th century. In contrast, she used a harsher tone in her novel Ethan Frome to convey the atmosphere of lower-class rural Massachusetts. In addition to writing several respected novels, Wharton produced a wealth of short stories and is particularly well regarded for her ghost stories.

Available eBooks

  • thumbnail

    Ethan Frome (1911)

    Set against the bleak winter landscape of New England, Ethan Frome is the story of a poor farmer, lonely and downtrodden, his wife Zeena, and her cousin...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Fighting France (1915)

    As nuanced in her observations of human behavior as she is in her vivid depictions of French landscape and architecture, Wharton fully exploited her uni...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Here and Beyond (1926)

    Here and Beyond is a collection of six short stories, which includes ghost stories, social dramas and character studies set in Brittany, New England, an...read more »

  • thumbnail

    House of Mirth (1905)

    Born in 1862 into an exclusive New York society – against whose rigid mores she often rebelled – Edith Wharton bridged the literary worlds of two contin...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Hudson River Bracketed (1929)

    One of Edith Wharton’s unjustly neglected novels, Hudson River Bracketed features two strong protagonists - Vance Weston and Halo Spear. The former is a...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Summer (1917)

    Summer, Edith Wharton wrote to Gaillard Lapsley, “is known to its author and her familars as the Hot Ethan.” One of the first American novels to deal fr...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Tales of Men and Ghosts (1910)

    Tales of Men and Ghosts consists of ten short stories by Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist Edith Wharton. Previously been printed in Scribner’s M...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Age of Innocence (1920)

    Somewhere in this book, Wharton observes that clever liars always come up with good stories to back up their fabrications, but that really clever liars ...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Children (1928)

    A bestseller when it was first published, The Children is a comic, bittersweet novel about the misadventures of a bachelor and a band of precocious chil...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Custom of the Country (1913)

    Edith Wharton’s satiric anatomy of American society in the first decade of the twentieth century appeared in 1913; it both appalled and fascinated its f...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Fruit of the Tree (1907)

    Set in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts during the height of the progressive era, the book centers on heroine Justine Brent, a professionally tra...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Gods Arrive (1932)

    Halo Tarrant, abandoning her failed marriage, elopes to Europe with the brilliant young writer, Vance Weston. As they travel around, her only wish is to...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Mother's Recompense (1925)

    Opening on the French Riviera among a motley community of American expatriates, The Mother’s Recompense tells the story of Kate Clephane and her relucta...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Reef (1912)

    Set in and around London, “The Reef” is a story of complex morality and its intricately woven place in society. This narrative primarily follows George ...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Touchstone (1900)

    The Touchstone was Edith Wharton’s first published novella, and it’s spare, perhaps even underwritten. Even so, this Faustian tale of a man who stoops t...read more »

  • thumbnail

    The Valley of Decision (1902)

    This two part romance chronicles the rise to power of Odo Valsecca during the intellectual and political tumult which preceded the French Revolution. Du...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Twilight Sleep (1927)

    Edith Wharton’s superb satirical novel of the Jazz Age, a critically praised best-seller when it was first published. Sex, drugs, work, money, infatuati...read more »

  • thumbnail

    Xingu (1916)

    Showcasing the talent of one of the greatest novelists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this collection gathers five of Edith Wharton’s short ...read more »