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The House of Mirth (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – February 24, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (February 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835796
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Beautifully produced, this may well become the standard reading text."--E.N. Feltskog, University of Wisconsin


"Essential reading to know this chronicler par excellence. Great for english, humanities and women's studies courses."--J.C. Moore, Scottsdale Community College


"I always choose Oxford World Classics editions whenever I can because their introductions and notes are the most useful and the texts are clearly the most carefully prepared. This book looks to be no exception!"--Laura Dabundo, Kennesaw State College


"Beautiful, thoroughgoing, very professional--a complete 'treatment' of the text from Introduction to Chronology to Bibliography and Notes. Plus the great affordable price! A really terrific edition."--John Dempsey, Brown University


"Excellent, reasonably priced edition. . . . introduction [is] useful for background and critical information."--Lynn F. Williams, Emerson College


About the Author


Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, Martha Banta is the author of Imaging American Women: Ideas and Ideals in Cultural History (New York, 1987).

Customer Reviews

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This novel is beautiful and frustrating and dire and tragic and devastating and golden.
rachel
It is certainly worthy of the title "Modern Classic." (I would so appreciate anyone who could e-mail me with their views on this book.
Jennifer
Like most not-so-rich women, Lily Bart is on the prowl for a marriage to keep her in luxury and affluent circles.
E. A Solinas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
America and Europe of the 1800s were stiff, gilded, formal place, full of "old" families, rigid customs and social transgressions. Especially for women.

And nobody chronicled them better than Edith Wharton, who spun exquisitely barbed novels out of the social clashes of the late nineteenth century. "The House of Mirth" is one of her darker stories, where scandals and lack of conformity trigger a tragic downward spiral for a vibrant woman.

Like most not-so-rich women, Lily Bart is on the prowl for a marriage to keep her in luxury and affluent circles. What's more, she has a rapid intellect and striking looks, but she is also a habitual liar who defies society's strictures (she gambles and smokes). Her only friend is Lawrence Seldon, but she is determined not to marry for love alone.

Unfortunately, her schemes and plans start to collapse -- her adoring suitors either aren't rich enough, or her independent spirit sends her off. Her desperation becomes even more intense as she finds herself in the thick of a scandal, spun up by a malicious society matron to cover up her own affair. With her reputation in ruins, Lily's life spirals down into a new life of unemployment, poverty, and the final tragedy.

Edith Wharton always paid a lot of attention to a woman's restricted life in the Gilded Age, and how scandals, unconventionality and society's hypocrisy could ruin them. But "The House of Mirth" pays more attention to this than most -- it's a bleakly realistic story, unflinchingly showing Lily's slow descent into miserable loneliness.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer on March 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was totally overwhelmed by 'The House of Mirth'. Although it was clear that Lily's short sightedness was responsible for her downfall, I find it difficult to pin point exactly why the character evoked such strong feelings of sympathy from me. Her beauty makes her captivating, and she is so naieve and inexperienced, that you cannot help but feel so much sadness when things take an inevitable turn for the worse. The ending was incredibly emotional, and so moving, illustrating the point that, at the end of the day, beauty will not secure success or fulfillment. I cannot reccomend this book highly enough - it is beautifully written with a complex yet incredibly loveable female protagonist. In my opinion, this book is underrated. It is certainly worthy of the title "Modern Classic."
(I would so appreciate anyone who could e-mail me with their views on this book. After reading it I have decided to write my university dissertation on this and some of Wharton's other masterpieces - jenn_146@hotmail.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laurence R. Bachmann VINE VOICE on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Edith Wharton's extraordinary rendition of an upper class women's steady and inexorable decline into poverty and oblivion is moving, tragic and as beautifully wrought as fine calligraphy. Sophisticated, witty and handsome, Lily Bart, until her father's bankruptcy, fully expected to be one of society's most admired ornaments. Reduced circumstances however don't reduce Lily's high standards and there is something too exacting about an aging debutante with unreasonable expectations. Lily can't quite stoop to reel in the rather ridiculous but sufficiently wealthy Percy Gryce who can afford to keep her but never please her. Nor will she deign to defend herself against the catty and vicious attacks of other society ladies. It is this sense of superiority without the armor fortune provides that is her downfall. Noble, dignified and perfectly proper Lily is doomed in a society where the veneer just barely covers every member's willingness to get their hands dirty now and then to achieve their goals. Whether it is slandering an opponent, covering up an affair or just elbowing your way to the front of the line the survivors in New York society are the one's who are unafraid to get down and dirty when their lives depend upon it.

Wharton is pitch perfect in her depiction of Society's grandees--she should be having come from and moved in that circle all her life. And first and foremost The House of Mirth is a novel of manners. But it is also a beautiful study of realism--a women who refuses to engage the world as it is but pretends to the very bitter end, it and she are finer than they really are. A marvelous achievement.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful book that takes you back to a period of time where people act and think so differently than today. I wanted to shake so many of the characters. "Just say what you really feel!" I'm so glad I read this book. i highly recommend it.
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