*THE HOUSE OF MIRTH is the first of Wharton's undisputed masterpieces. Its publication in 1905 changed Wharton's literary fortunes forever.
First published in 1905, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH shocked the New York society it so deftly chronicles, portraying the moral, social and economic restraints on a woman who dared to claim the privileges of marriage without assuming the responsibilities.
Lily Bart, beautiful, witty and sophisticated, is accepted by 'old money' and courted by the growing tribe of nouveaux riches. But as she nears thirty, her foothold becomes precarious; a poor girl with expensive tastes, she needs a husband to preserve her social standing and to maintain her in the luxury she has come to expect. Whilst many have sought her, something - fastidiousness or integrity- prevents her from making a 'suitable' match.
'To my mind, her greatest novel beautifully written never jaded or perfunctory. The humour sedately delirious. Above all, it is a passionate book' NINA BAWDEN
Edith Wharton was born in 1862 in New York, and later lived in Rhode Island and France. Her first novel, The Valley of Decision, was published in 1902, and by 1913 she was writing at least one book a year. During the First World War she was awarded the Cross of the Legion d'Honneur and the Order of Leopold. In 1920, The Age of Innocence won the Pulitzer Prize; she was the first woman to receive a Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and in 1930 she became a member of the American Academy of Arts and letters. She died in 1937.