Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

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The Age of Innocence (1920) is a novel by Edith Wharton, which won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize.[1] The story is set in upper class New York City in the 1870s. In 1920, The Age of Innocence was published twice; first in four parts, July – October, in the Pictorial Review magazine, and then by D. appleton and Company as a book in New York and in London. The book was warmly received; the Times Book Review considered it "a brilliant panorama of New York's 45 years ago. The novel is in demand mostly at public libraries and a best seller in the bookstores." ...

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First published in 1913, Edith Wharton’s The Custom of the Country is a scathing novel of ambition featuring one of the most ruthless heroines in literature. Undine Spragg is as unscrupulous as she is magnetically beautiful. Her rise to the top of New York’s high society from the nouveau riche provides a provocative commentary on the upwardly mobile and the aspirations that eventually cause their ruin. One of Wharton’s most acclaimed works, The Custom of the Country is a stunning indictment of materialism and misplaced values that is as powerful today for its astute observations about greed and power as when it was written nearly a century ago....

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“If there is a more highly regarded female American author of the twentieth century, her name doesn’t readily come to mind.”
--John Updike

Born in 1862 into an exclusive New York society—against whose rigid mores she often rebelled—Edith Wharton bridged the literary worlds of two continents and two centuries in her rich and glamorous life. The House of Mirth (1905), her tenth book, is the story of young Lily Bart and her tragic sojourn among the upper class of turn-of-the- century New York, touching upon the insidious effects of social convention and the sexual and financial aggression to which free-spirited women were exposed. “A frivolous society,” Wharton wrote, “can acquire dramatic significance only through what its frivolity destroys.”

Library of America Paperback Classics feature authoritative texts drawn from the acclaimed Library of America series and introduced by todayÂ’s most distinguished scholars and writers. Each book features a detailed chronology of the authorÂ’s life and career, and essay on the choice of the text, and notes.

The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from Edith Wharton: Novels, volume number 30 in the Library of America series. It is joined in the series by three companion volumes, gathering novellas, short stories, and other writing by Edith Wharton....

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Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic novel of passion and desire. The beautiful Countess Ellen Olenska, fleeing her brutish husband, returns from Europe to the upper-class world of Old New York in the 1870s. Her rebellious independence and impulsive awareness of life stir the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, already engaged to marry Ellen's cousin. "(Wharton's) best book."-- The New York Times....

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Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars Biographies of the authors Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events Footnotes and endnotes Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work Comments by other famous authors Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations Bibliographies for further reading Indices & Glossaries, when appropriateAll editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
 
Winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton’s masterful portrait of desire and betrayal during the sumptuous Golden Age of Old New York, a time when society people “dreaded scandal more than disease.”

This is Newland Archer’s world as he prepares to marry the beautiful but conventional May Welland. But when the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska returns to New York after a disastrous marriage, Archer falls deeply in love with her. Torn between duty and passion, Archer struggles to make a decision that will either courageously define his life—or mercilessly destroy it.

Maureen Howard is a critic, teacher, and writer of fiction. Her seven novels include Bridgeport Bus, Natural History, and A Lover’s Almanac. Her memoir, Facts of Life, won the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. She has taught at Yale and Columbia University.
...

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Beautiful, intelligent, and hopelessly addicted to luxury, Lily Bart is the heroine of this Wharton masterpiece. But it is her very taste and moral sensibility that render her unfit for survival in this world....

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Deeply moving study of the tyrannical and rigid requirements of New York high society in the late 19th century and the effect of those strictures on the lives of three people. Vividly characterized drama of affection thwarted by a man’s sense of honor, family, and societal pressures. A long-time favorite with readers and critics alike.
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece of unfulfilled romance set against the backdrop of old New York.

THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

¥ A concise introduction that gives the reader important background information

¥ A chronology of the author's life and work

¥ A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

¥ An outline of key themes and plot points to guide the reader's own interpretations

¥ Detailed explanatory notes

¥ Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

¥ Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

¥ A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience...


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Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for literature ever awarded to a woman, The Age of Innocence is Edith Wharton's elegant portrait of desire and betrayal in Old New York.

In the highest circle of New York social life during the 1870s, Newland Archer, a young lawyer, prepares to marry the docile May Welland. But before their engagement is announced, he meets the mysterious, nonconformist Countess Ellen Olenska - May's cousin, who has returned to New York after a long absence. Ellen mirrors his own sense of disillusionment with society and the 'good marriage' he is about to embark upon and provokes a moral struggle within him as he continues to go through the motions....


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A classic work left unfinished by Edith Wharton has been brought to a successful completion using Wharton's own synopsis, as it chronicles the fortunes of five rich New York girls who travel to England in search of titled husbands. Reprint. NYT. ...

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Opening on the French Riviera among a motley community of American expatriates, The Mother's Recompense tells the story of Kate Clephane and her reluctant return to New York society after being exiled years before for abandoning her husband and infant daughter.

Oddly enough, Kate has been summoned back by that same daughter, Anne, now fully grown and intent on marrying Chris Fenno, a war hero, dilettante, and social opportunist. Chris's questionable intentions toward her daughter are, however, the least of Kate's worries since she was once, and still is, deeply in love with him. Kate's moral quandary and the ensuing drama evoke comparison with Oedipus and Hamlet and lead to an ending that startled the mores of the day....


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ENDURING LITERATURE ILLUMINATED BY PRACTICAL SCHOLARSHIP

Set against the bleak winter landscape of New England, Ethan Frome tells the story of a poor farmer, lonely and downtrodden, his wife Zeena, and her cousin, the enchanting Mattie Silver. In the playing out of this short novel's powerful and engrossing drama, Edith Wharton constructed her least characteristic and most celebrated book.

EACH ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:

• A concise introduction that gives readers important background information

• A chronology of the author's life and work

• A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context

• An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations

• Detailed explanatory notes

• Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work

• Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction

• A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience

Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world's finest books to their full potential.

SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON...


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Edith Wharton’s Italian Villas and Their Gardens, a seminal work on garden design, is a testament to the passionate connoisseurship of one of America’s greatest writers. A comprehensive look at the history and character of Italian garden architecture and ornamentation, the book explores more than seventy-five villas, capturing what Wharton calls their "garden-magic" and illuminating the intimate relationship between the house, its formal gardens, and the surrounding countryside.This beautiful hardcover facsimile is carefully reproduced from the first edition published in 1904 and features all of the original plates, including twenty-six illustrations by Maxfield Parrish, as well as décollage edges. It is published in association with The Mount Press. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of the book support the restoration of The Mount, the Massachusetts estate designed and built by Wharton based on the principles articulated in this book and in The Decoration of Houses. Elegantly written and informed by Wharton’s sensitivity and wit, Italian Villas and Their Gardens is a work that belongs on the shelf of every lover of gardens and good taste....

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A masterwork From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author

Nineteenth-century New England villager Ethan Frome is tormented by his love for his ailing wife's cousin. Trapped, he may ultimately be destroyed by that which offers his greatest chance at happiness......

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Edith Wharton's The Decoration of Houses is an invaluable reference, one of the classic works on interior decoration, and a testament to the enduring style of one of America's greatest writers. Written in collaboration with celebrated American architect Ogden Codman, Jr., Wharton's first book is a comprehensive look at the history and character of turn-of-the-century interior design, moving from historical traditions to the distinctive styles of contemporary taste. Published in association with the Mount Press, this beautiful hardcover facsimile is carefully reproduced from the first edition published in 1897 and includes all 56 original plates-illustrating furniture, moldings, and interior styles of the 19th-century-and features décollage edges as well as a new introduction from renowned scholar Richard Guy Wilson. The Mount is a magnificent estate Edith Wharton designed and built in 1902 as a writer's retreat in the beautiful Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts....

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The four novellas collected here, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Age of Innocence, brilliantly capture New York of the 1840s, '50s, '60s, and '70s. Originally published in 1924, this outstanding quartet includes False Dawn, about a rocky father/son relationship; The Old Maid, the best known of the four, in which a young woman's hidden illegitimate child is adoted by her best friend, with devastating results; The Spark, involving a young man and his moral rehabilitation -- "sparked" by a chance encounter with Walt Whitman; and New Year's Day, an O. Henryesque tale of a married woman suspected of adultery. Each reveals the codes and customs that ruled society of the time, drawn with the perspicacious eye and style that is uniquely Edith Wharton's.

Pocket Books' enriched Classics present the great works of world literature enhanced for the contemporary reader. This valume reprints the orginal New York Times Book Review feature on Old New York, a piece that helps fix the stories in the contemporary critical landscape. Also included are critical perspectives, suggestions for further reading, and a visual essay composed of authentic period illustrations and photographs....


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This edition presents Wharton's two most controversial stories, which she considered inseperable, in one volume for the first time. Set in frigid New England, both deal with sexual awakening and appetite and their devastating consequences. This text includes newly commissioned notes....

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A Backward Glance is Edith Wharton's vivid account of both her public and her private life. With richness and delicacy, it describes the sophisticated New York society in which Wharton spent her youth, and chronicles her travels throughout Europe and her literary success as an adult. Beautifully depicted are her friendships with many of the most celebrated artists and writers of her day, including her close friend Henry James.

In his introduction to this edition, Louis Auchincloss calls the writing in A Backward Glance "as firm and crisp and lucid as in the best of her novels." It is a memoir that will charm and fascinate all readers of Wharton's fiction....


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Since its publication in 1905 The House of Mirth has commanded attention for the sharpness of Wharton's observations and the power of her style. A lucid, disturbing analysis of the stifling limitations imposed upon women of her generation, Wharton's tale of Lily Bart's search for a husband of position in New York Society, and betrayal of her own heart, transformed the traditional novel of manners into an arrestingly modern document of cultural anthropology. With incisive contemporary analysis, the introduction by a leading scholar of American literature updates this increasingly important work....

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Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a "hired girl," Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.

In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton’s other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel....


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The 1920s novel of a passion threatened by convention and played outagainst a backdrop of New York City-s upper class, unimaginable wealth,and unavoidable tragedy....

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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 first reviewers, and established her as a major novelist. The Saturday Review wrote that she had "assembled as many detestable people as it is possible to pack between the covers of a six-hundred page novel," but concluded that the book was "brilliantly written," and "should be read as a parable."
It follows the career of Undine Spragg, recently arrived in New York from the Midwest and determined to conquer high society. Glamorous, selfish, mercenary and manipulative, her principal assets are her striking beauty, her tenacity, and her father's money. With her sights set on an advantageous marriage, Undine pursues her schemes in a world of shifting values, where triumph is swiftly followed by disillusion.
Wharton was recreating an environment she knew intimately, and Undine's education for social success is chronicled in meticulous detail. The novel superbly captures the world of post-Civil War America, as ruthless in its social ambitions as in its business and politics....

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The child of mountain moonshiners, Charity Royall enjoys an affair with an educated young man from the city, but feels separated from the larger world by her drunken guardian and the overwhelming pressures of environment and heredity. Reissue....

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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....

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A literary sensation when it was published by Scribners in 1905, The House of Mirth quickly established Edith Wharton as the most important American woman of letters in the twentieth century. The first American novel to provide a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York's aristocracy, it is the story of the beautiful and beguiling Lily Bart and her ill-fated attempt to rise to the heights of a heartless society in which, ultimately, she has no part.

From the staid conventionality of Old New York to the forced conviviality of the French Riviera, from the drawing room of Gus Trenor's Bellomont to the dreary resort of a downtown boardinghouse, Wharton created her "first full-scale survey," as her biographer R.W.B. Lewis put it, "of the comédie humaine, American style." A brilliantly satiric yet sensitive exploration of manners and morality, The House of Mirth marked Wharton's transformation from an amateur into a professional writer and figures among her most important works....


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A side from her Pulitzer Prize-winning talent as a novel writer, Edith Wharton also distinguished herself as a short story writer, publishing more than seventy-two stories in ten volumes during her lifetime. The best of her short fiction is collected here in Roman Fever and Other Stories. From her picture of erotic love and illegitimacy in the title story to her exploration of the aftermath of divorce detailed in "Souls Belated" and "The Last Asset," Wharton shows her usual skill "in dissecting the elements of emotional subtleties, moral ambiguities, and the implications of social restrictions," as Cynthia Griffin Wolff writes in her introduction. Roman Fever and Other Stories is a surprisingly contemporary volume of stories by one of our most enduring writers....


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Highly acclaimed at its publication in 1913, The Custom of the Country is a cutting commentary on America’s nouveaux riches, their upward-yearning aspirations and their eventual downfalls. Through her heroine, the beautiful and ruthless Undine Spragg, a spoiled heiress who looks to her next materialistic triumph as her latest conquest throws himself at her feet, Edith Wharton presents a startling, satiric vision of social behavior in all its greedy glory. As Undine moves from America’s heartland to Manhattan, and then to Paris, Wharton’s critical eye leaves no social class unscathed....

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In addition to Ethan Frome, this Bantam Classic edition contains the novella The Touchstone and three short stories, "The Last Asset," "The Other Two," and "Xingu."...

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Introduction by Pamela Knights...

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These novels played a unique and lasting role in the development of American literature, and each one remains a beloved and widely read work of fiction. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn-arguably the great American novel. Ethan Frome-an enduring rural tragedy. And Moby-Dick or, The Whale-a profound inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. Now, Penguin Classics is proud to present these three novels in gorgeous graphic packages featuring cover art by some of the most talented illustrators working today....

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A tale of forbidden sexual passion and thwarted dreams played out against the lush, summer backdrop of the Massachusetts Berkshires Edith Wharton called "Summer" her 'hot Ethan'. In their rural settings and their poor, uneducated protagonists, "Summer" (1916) and "Ethan Frome" represent a sharp departure from Wharton's familiar depictions of the urban upper class. Charity Royall lives unhappily with her hard-drinking adoptive father in an isolated village, until a visiting architect awakens her sexual passion and the hope for escape. Exploring Charity's relation to her father and her lover, Wharton delves into dark cultural territory: repressed sexuality, small-town prejudice, and, in subtle hints, incest....

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Eighteen-year-old Charily Royall enjoys an idyllic summer romance with visiting architect Lucius Harney, a romance marred by her life in her poor mountain community and the amorous attentions of her stepfather. Reprint....

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New, Unabridged on 2 CD’s; Shrinkwrapped. Narrated by Ralph Cosham.

With an unfailing eye for folly and pretentiousness, Wharton gives us four wonderful stories: 'The Eyes', 'The Daunt Diana', 'The Debt' and 'The Moving Finger'....


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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Introduction by Pamela Knights

In The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton depicts the glittering salons of Gilded Age New York with precision and wit, even as she movingly portrays the obstacles that impeded women's choices at the turn of the century.

The beautiful, much-desired Lily Bart has been raised to be one of the perfect wives of the wealthy upper class, but her spark of character and independent drive prevents her from becoming one of the many women who will succeed in those circles. Though her desire for a comfortable life means that she cannot marry for love without money, her resistance to the rules of the social elite endangers her many marriage proposals. As Lily spirals down into debt and dishonor, her story takes on the resonance of classic tragedy. One of Wharton's most bracing and nuanced portraits of the life of women in a hostile, highly ordered world, The House of Mirth exposes the truths about American high society that its denizens most wished to deny.


From the Hardcover edition....

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From the esteemed author of The Age of Innocence--a black comedy about vast wealth and a woman who can define herself only through the perceptions of others. Lily Bart's quest to find a husband who can satisfy her cravings for endless admiration and all the trappings of the rich comes to a scandalous end when she is accused of being a wealthy man's mistress. (Literature/Classics)...

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Newland Archer saw little to envy in the marriages of his friends, yet he prided himself that in May Welland he had found the companion of his needs--tender and impressionable, with equal purity of mind and manners. The engagement was announced discreetly, but all of New York society was soon privy to this most perfect match, a union of families and circumstances cemented by affection.
        Enter Countess Olenska, a woman of quick wit sharpened by experience, not afraid to flout convention and determined to find freedom in divorce. Against his judgment, Newland is drawn to the socially ostracized Ellen Olenska, who opens his eyes and has the power to make him feel. He knows that in sweet-tempered May, he can expect stability and the steadying comfort of duty. But what new worlds could he discover with Ellen? Written with elegance and wry precision, Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece is a tragic love story and a powerful homily about the perils of a perfect marriage.

Commentary by William Lyon Phelps and E. M. Forster...

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Ethan works his unproductive farm, and struggles to maintain an existence with his suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena's cousin enters their household as a "hired girl", Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent....

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The widespread resurgence of interest in Edith Wharton's career over the past twenty years has restored to print most of her fiction, travel books, and writings on architecture, gardening, and interior decoration. Yet one significant and substantial portion of her accomplishment has remained largely overlooked: Wharton's numerous exercises in literary criticism. Constituting an unusually little-known body of work by an otherwise preeminent American writer, Wharton's many scattered reviews and essays, literary eulogies, and forewords and introductions (to her own work, and to works of others) have never before been collected in a single volume. Covering works of various literary traditions, including eloquent general considerations of fiction and criticism, and embracing novels, volumes of lyric and dramatic verse, and works by other critics of literature, art, and architecture, these critical writings uniquely demonstrate the extraordinary range of Wharton's critical interests and intelligence.

A searching and comprehensive introductory essay places her critical prose in the context of Wharton's career as a whole, and draws on a wealth of unpublished materials in exploring the uncertainties and inhibitions against which she had to struggle in order to express herself as a critic at all. Assembling her miscellaneous critical writings (including some newly discovered texts), this authoritative edition makes an exceptional contribution not only to the ongoing "Wharton revival" but to the study of American literature, of literary criticism, and of women as writers of criticism....


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