One of Edith Wharton’s most accomplished social satires, this novel tells the story of the beautiful but impoverished New York socialite Lily Bart, whose refusal to compromise in her search for a husband leads to her exclusion from polite society. In charting the course of Lily’s life and downfall, Wharton also provides a wider picture of a society in transition, a milieu in which old certainties, manners, and morals no longer hold true, and where the individual has become an expendable commodity.
This classic American novel is now available in a Broadview edition that includes a critical introduction and a rich selection of contextual documents. Appendices include Wharton’s correspondence about The House of Mirth, contemporary articles on social mores, etiquette, and dress, and related writings by Henry James, Thorstein Veblen, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
“This is an admirably edited volume that includes a wide range of texts by Wharton and illuminating documents from the period. The editors set The House of Mirth in the context of European as well as American novelistic practices, greatly expanding our understanding of Wharton’s first major and arguably finest novel.” — Carol J. Singley, Rutgers University-Camden
“Too often pigeon-holed as the work of a buttoned-up proper ‘lady,’ The House of Mirth is restored in this edition to its full cultural context. Critics have downplayed Wharton’s connection to popular culture in favor of promoting her status as a canonical author. This edition makes Wharton’s relationship to popular culture explicit by providing readers with a full dossier of materials, from fashion plates to advice columns and social commentary.” — Augusta Rohrbach, Brown University