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Novels by Edith Wharton
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Novels (edition 1985)

by Edith Wharton, R. W. B. Lewis

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405526,316 (4.5)None
Member:bjuhl
Title:Novels
Authors:Edith Wharton
Other authors:R. W. B. Lewis
Info:New York, N.Y. : Library of America, c1985.
Collections:Your library, Favorites
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Novels: The House of Mirth / The Reef / The Custom of the Country / The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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Showing 5 of 5
"The house of mirth", "The reef", "The custom of the country", "The age of innocence"
  IICANA | May 17, 2016 |
This is a very satisfying, beautiful edition, and The Age of Innocence is a supreme American novel.
And just want to add The House of Mirth to the 5-star review. Amazing, beautiful, perfect prose marred only by some lazy bigotry that Wharton shared with so many other writers. ( )
  JoePhelan | Dec 14, 2014 |
This review is of the novel, The Custom of the Country, which appears in this volume of the Library of America.

Undine Spragg was born to be admired. Her beauty and style turned heads in her mid-Western hometown of Apex, and later in the salons of New York and Paris. Undine Spragg was born to be indulged. Her father could always “find” the money to satisfy her whims and caprices (or, as she would have said, her needs) and settled on her an allowance he could sometimes ill afford, throughout several marriages; her husbands paid for her gowns, furs, jewels and parties as long as they could, or cared to, and when they stopped indulging Undine, Undine stopped caring for them. Undine Spragg was born to be dissatisfied. The more she had, the more she wanted, and the less she wanted what she had. She failed repeatedly to be the right sort of companion to the men who wanted her because she failed always to grasp the significance of anything that wasn’t relevant to her current desires. The less said about her mothering “skills”, the better. Unlike Scarlett O’Hara, another pampered heroine who I thought of often while reading The Custom of the Country, Undine Spragg had very little steel in her; when things got tough she didn’t face them and call upon inner reserves of strength to get her through; she just looked for another “friend” to bale her out. Not for Undine the unquenchable optimism of “Tomorrow is another day!” or the formidable resolve of “As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again!” Rather, by the end of Edith Wharton’s brilliant novel, Undine Spragg Moffatt Marvell desChelles Moffat has finally come to realize that, through her own ever-upward striving, she has sealed her fate, and disqualified herself from ever attaining that which, just now, she feels is the one thing she most wants in the world.
Wharton’s writing is witty, breathtakingly beautiful at times, compelling…how else could one read and enjoy 400 pages of the pointless carryings-on of anyone as unlikeable and useless as Undine Spragg? The novel is full of delicious irony, and one or two laugh-out-loud moments; the final chapter, in which we really meet Undine’s 9-year-old son and see things from his perspective, is as fine as anything I’ve ever read. I just wanted to scoop up this forlorn little being, whisk him back to his “French father”, and find him a woman with a heart to love him like a mother.
  laytonwoman3rd | Nov 8, 2014 |
There is something about the way Wharton describes the very rich of late 1800s America, in The House of Mirth, that can only really be captured with the very delicate paper of this edition. Of the story, it is the imperfect natures of the characters that draws me in and the fact that, whilst they resolve some issues, they are still flawed in the end. It may not be as gritty as some novelists with the setting, but it feels as though the emotions are...it helps to remind me that the glittering world of money isn't an Austen-esque world.
  VeritysVeranda | Sep 29, 2013 |
These novels got me through the last two semesters of graduate school. Wharton's carefully selected words describe the social dynamics of what sometimes seems like an alien world ... that is nevertheless uncomfortably familiar. ( )
  andystardust | Mar 27, 2009 |
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