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The Letters of Edith Wharton Hardcover – June, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wharton (1874-1937) was not only a prolific novelist and short-story writer but a prolific correspondent, and this selection of close to 400 letters, many never-before published, shows her at her epistolary best. Divided into seven chronological sections, each with a useful introduction, the letters reveal a woman of alert mind, broad interests, numerous moods and appealing warmth of heart. She also was endowed with a singular capacity to evoke the life around her, ranging from the exoticism of North Africa to the horrors of the World War I front. A large proportion of the letters are to her friends Henry James and Bernard Berenson, while others address Scott Fitzgerald, Andre Gide and Theodore Roosevelt's sister. The letters that show her at her most passionate, and most vulnerable, are those she wrote to her lover Morton Fullerton. R.W.B. Lewis won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1975 Wharton biography; Nancy Lewis is his wife. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

$29.95. lit Selected from some 4000 letters that span over 60 years, these 400 letters serve to represent Wharton's life and personality. Since her correspondence with Walter Berry and Henry James has not survived, it's probable that what we do have is "second-best." What remains does display Wharton's indefatigable energy, her cultivated intelligence, her unfailing social adeptness, and a kind of efficiency in both thought and emotion. Except for her correspondence with Morton Fullerton, her one-time lover, Wharton's letters are primarily the decisive acts of a social animal. They rarely grope toward the articulation of a feeling, nor do they explore the shadowy limits of her self-awareness. The products of a formidably armored personality, they will be of greatest use to a social historian of the period. Earl Rovit, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (June 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684185857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684185859
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,386,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RebekB on August 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book contains about 400 of Wharton's letters, out of about 4,000 extant. It is a careful selection, including "major" letters that are often quoted, and for the first time (other than in a small university publication), a substantial portion of her correspondence with Morton Fullerton, with whom she had an affair while in her mid-40s. That particular correspondence did not surface until the 1980s, and added an entirely new perspective on Wharton's life and work. Unfortunately, nearly all of her correspondence with two of her greatest friends, Henry James and Walter Berry, did not survive, and the absence is felt. I applaud the editors (one of whom wrote a Pulitzer prize winning bio of Wharton) for a selection that is very readable and never trite or repetitive (a big problem when dealing with letters in their entirety). Reading the letters after having read the bio, I found they added to my understanding of Wharton as a person and a writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Emily K. Bibby on September 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Although many of the lines contained in these letters have been well publicized for years, never before have Wharton's private and business correspondences been so collectively accessible. Interesting enough for their biographic aspects, the letters are also wonderful companion pieces to Wharton's books, particularly A BACKWARD GLANCE, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, and THE HOUSE OF MIRTH.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wharton writes with wit and love to her friends. As we know she is a brilliant story teller and these letters are the story of her life.
A must read for anyone interested in Wharton's mind and manner
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