A rich and powerful new life of the great novelist. It overturns the accepted view, displaying her as a tough, erotically brave, startlingly modern writer.
The name Edith Wharton conjures up Gilded Age New York in all its snobbery and ruthlessness — the world of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth. But this definitive biography by Hermione Lee overturns the stereotype. Her Edith Wharton is not the genteel, nostalgic chronicler of a vanished age but a fiercely modern woman, writing of sex and incest, love and war — a woman of passionate conviction and conflicting ambitions.
Born in 1862, Wharton broke away from her wealthy background. She travelled adventurously in Europe, eventually settling in France, her “second country” until her death in 1937. She created fabulous homes in New England and in France, and her life was filled with remarkable friends, including Henry James, Bernard Berenson, Aldous Huxley and Kenneth Clark. She ran her professional life with fierce energy, but she also had her secrets, including a passionate mid-life love affair, recorded in a coded diary. Unhappily married, childless and divorced, she knew loneliness and anguish. Her brilliant and disturbing fiction shows her deep understanding of the longing and struggle in women’s lives.
In this masterly new biography, Hermione Lee shifts the emphasis to Europe, placing Wharton in her social context and history. It shows in fascinating detail how she worked and what lies at the heart of her magnificent books.
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The definitive biography of one of America’s greatest writers, from the author of the acclaimed masterpiece Virginia Woolf.
Delving into heretofore untapped sources, Hermione Lee does away with the image of the snobbish bluestocking and gives us a new Edith Wharton--tough, startlingly modern, as brilliant and complex as her fiction.
Born in 1862, Wharton escaped the suffocating fate of the well-born female, traveled adventurously in Europe and eventually settled in France. After tentative beginnings, she developed a forceful literary professionalism and thrived in a luminous society that included Bernard Berenson, Aldous Huxley and most famously Henry James, who here emerges more as peer than as master. Wharton's life was fed by nonliterary enthusiasms as well: her fabled houses and gardens, her heroic relief efforts during the Great War, the culture of the Old World, which she never tired of absorbing. Yet intimacy eluded her: unhappily married and childless, her one brush with passion came and went in midlife, an affair vividly, intimately recounted here.
With profound empathy and insight, Lee brilliantly interweaves Wharton's life with the evolution of her writing, the full scope of which shows her far to be more daring than her stereotype as lapidarian chronicler of the Gilded Age. In its revelation of both the woman and the writer, Edith Wharton is a landmark biography.
Hermione Lee's Reading Guide to Edith Wharton
Hermione Lee, about whose Virginia Woolf the Amazon.com reviewer wrote, "Biographies don't get much better than this," has turned for her next major subject to Edith Wharton. Wharton's classics, including The House of Mirth, The Age of Innocence, and Ethan Frome, are known to many readers, but Lee has prepared exclusively for us a Reading Guide to Edith Wharton that goes beyond those familiar titles to unearth lesser-known gems among her remarkable stories and novels, from the story "After Holbein," "a masterpiece of ghoulish, chilling satire," to The Custom of the Country, her "most ruthless, powerful, and savage novel."About the Author:
Hermione Lee’s books include the internationally acclaimed biography Virginia Woolf, a collection of essays on life-writing, Body Parts, and a study of Elizabeth Bowen. She has written on many American authors, from Willa Cather to Philip Roth. She is a well-known reviewer and broadcaster, and, in 2006, Chair of the judges for the Man-Booker Prize. She is the first woman Goldsmiths’ Professor of English at Oxford University, a Fellow of New College Oxford, of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Literature. She was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to literature.
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Book Description Vintage Books, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099763516
Book Description Vintage Books, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0099763516
Book Description Vintage, 2008 9780099763512, 2008. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. NEW paperback. 853 pages. B/w photographs. Described variously as "Majestic, moving, monumental" and "a magnificent and subtle biography of a magnificent and subtle writer", this acclaimed biography, according to the blurb, "paints a portrait of a fiercely modern author, writing of sex, love, money and war - a woman of strong convictions and conflicting ambitions and desires. Delving into every aspect of her extraordinary life story, the book shows in fascinating detail how she worked and what lies at the heart of her wonderful and elegant works". An American writer, The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence are perhaps her best known novels. Bookseller Inventory # 424
Book Description Vintage, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000219320