DescriptionWhen the Countess Ellen Olenska returns from Europe, fleeing her brutish husband, her rebellious independence and passionate awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, already engaged to be married to her cousin May Welland, "that terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything." As the consequent drama unfolds, Edith Wharton's sharp ironic wit and Jamesian mastery of form create a disturbingly accurate picture of men and women caught in a society that denies humanity while desperately defending "civilization."
March 01, 1996
5.11 X 0.69 X 7.79 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born Edith Newbold Jones. A member of a distinguished New York family, she was educated privately in America and abroad. During her life, she published more than forty volumes: novels, stories, verse, essays, travel books, and memoirs. She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for The Age of Innocence, in 1921. Elif Batuman is the author of The Idiot, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in fiction, and The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. She has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 2010. Sarah Blackwood is an associate professor of English at Pace University. Her criticism has appeared in the New Yorker, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere.
"Is it--in this world--vulgar to ask for more? To entreat a little wildness, a dark place or two in the soul?"--Katherine Mansfield "There is no woman in American literature as fascinating as the doomed Madame Olenska. . . . Traditionally, Henry James has always been placed slightly higher up the slope of Parnassus than Edith Wharton. But now that the prejudice against the female writer is on the wane, they look to be exactly what they are: giants, equals, the tutelary and benign gods of our American literature."--Gore Vidal "Will writers ever recover that peculiar blend of security and alertness which characterizes Mrs. Wharton and her tradition?"--E. M. Forster