The House of Mirth (Vintage Classics)
The House of Mirth (Vintage Classics)
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"She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate."
When it was first published in 1905, Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth", received rave reviews, selling over 140,000 copies in its first three months. The New York Times called it "a novel of remarkable power" and established Wharton as a major American writer who would later become the first women to receive the Pulitzer Prize for literature.
Said to have accurately revealed the morality and manners of the golden age of New York aristocracy, Wharton satirically unfolds the descent of the beautiful but ill-fated Lilly Bart, as she sabotages her chances of a wealthy marriage, loses the sympathy of her unforgiving social circle, and descends into a life of poverty and despair.
About the Author
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into an “Old New York” family that could trace its lineage back 300 years. Her writing became an escape from her ill-fated, painful marriage to a prominent Bostonian. The publication of The House of Mirth finally established her stature in the literary world. After her divorce in 1913, she spent the rest of her life in France, and received that country’s Cross of the Legion of Honor for her work in helping refugees in World War I.
the trip to Alaska is—well—the very thing I should want for you just at present.” Miss Bart lifted her eyes with a keen glance. “To take me out of my friends’ way, you mean?” she said quietly; and Mrs. Fisher responded with a deprecating kiss: “To keep you out of their sight till they realize how much they miss you.” Miss Bart went with the Gormers to Alaska; and the expedition, if it did not produce the effect anticipated by her friend, had at least the negative advantage of removing her from
And as she continued to stand before him, a little pale under the retort, he added quickly: “Let us go down.” VII IT SPOKE MUCH for the depth of Mrs. Trenor’s friendship that her voice, in admonishing Miss Bart, took the same note of personal despair as if she had been lamenting the collapse of a house-party. “All I can say is, Lily, that I can’t make you out!” She leaned back, sighing, in the morning abandon of lace and muslin, turning an indifferent shoulder to the heaped-up importunities of
enjoyment was doomed to a perpetuity of failure; and her mistakes looked easily reparable in the light of her restored self-confidence. A special appositeness was given to these reflections by the discovery, in a neighbouring pew, of the serious profile and neatly-trimmed beard of Mr. Percy Gryce. There was something almost bridal in his own aspect: his large white gardenia had a symbolic air that struck Lily as a good omen. After all, seen in an assemblage of his kind he was not
with gratification, and a knowing smile drew up his moustache. “By Jove, you need n’t be!” he declared. “You could give ’em the whole outfit and win at a canter!” “Ah, that ’s nice of you; and it would be nicer still if you would carry me off to a quiet corner, and get me a glass of lemonade or some innocent drink before we all have to rush for the train.” She turned away as she spoke, letting him strut at her side through the gathering groups on the terrace, while every nerve in her throbbed
else to speak to. The whole situation ’s a little mixed, as I see it—but there used to be an aunt somewhere, a diffuse and innocent person, who was great at bridging over chasms she did n’t see … Ah, in New York, is she? Pity New York ’s such a long way off!” II MISS BART, emerging late the next morning from her cabin, found herself alone on the deck of the Sabrina. The cushioned chairs, disposed expectantly under the wide awning, showed no signs of recent occupancy, and she presently learned