[is considered] Mrs. Wharton’s masterpiece . . . The secret of its greatness is the stark human drama of it; the social crudity and human delicacy intermingled; the defiant, over-riding passion, and the long-drawn-out logic of the paid penalty. It has no contexts, no mitigations; it is plain, raw, first-hand human stuff.”—The New York Times
is Wharton’s only fiction to have become part of the American mythology . . . Wharton’s astonishing authority here is to render such pain with purity and economy . . . Truly it is a northern romance, akin even to Wuthering Heights.
”—Harold Bloom“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
About the Author
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones to George and Lucretia Jones in New York City on January 24, 1862. Edith married Teddy Wharton, 12 years older than she. They lived a life of relative ease with homes in New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Novels flowed from her mind in the years between 1900 and 1938. Indeed her novels became so popular with the general public that Ms. Wharton was able to live comfortably on her earnings the rest of her life. Edith divorced Teddy in 1912, having no immediate heirs, and never married again. Instead she traveled extensively by motorcar, helped untiringly with refugees in Paris during the first World War, and only returned once again in her lifetime to the United States to accept the Pulitzer prize for her novel, The Age of Innocence. She held salons where the gifted intellectuals of her time gathered to discuss and share ideas. F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway were guests of hers. Edith lived in two homes in France, one in the north of Paris, Pavillon Colombe, and one at Hyere, Ste. Claire. Her flat in Paris was at 53 Rue de Varenne. She retired to Pavillon Colombe and continued to write until a stroke took her life in August 1937. She is buried in the American Cemetery at Versailles. The inscription on her grave stone reads: "O Crux Ave Spes Unica", which translates: "Hail, o cross, the one hope."