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Summer by Edith Wharton

Summer (1917)

by Edith Wharton

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1,679496,624 (3.7)220
Summer, set in New England, is a novel by Edith Wharton published in 1917. The novel details the sexual awakening of its protagonist, eighteen year-old, Charity Royall, and her cruel treatment by the father of her child. Only moderately well received when originally published, Summer has had a resurgence in critical popularity since the 1960s.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
This is one of Wharton's shorter novels and is set in the NY countryside amongst the relatively poor instead of the city wealthy like most of her novels. While I loved this setting in Ethan Frome, I have to say that it didn't work for me this time. I found it predictable, dark, and fairly hopeless - not really what I was hoping for right now.

The story surrounds Charity Royall, a young woman who is adopted by the Royalls and taken away from the Mountain where a group of poor, hopeless people live, to live in a small town in the valley. When Mrs. Royall dies, Mr. Royall propositions Charity and she makes it clear that she will never have that sort of relationship with him. Then Mr. Harney comes to town. He is young and attractive and interested in Charity. They develop a relationship and then the inevitable happens she gets pregnant, he leaves, and she finds out he's already engaged to another, wealthier woman in the town. There is no fairy tale ending here.

Wharton's writing is wonderful as always, but I thought this story was predictable and so hopeless that I just couldn't get on board. This is the first book of Wharton's that I've found disappointing. ( )
  japaul22 | Jul 7, 2019 |
A bunch of us went up to Massachusetts a few years ago to visit "The Mount" the Italian style summer house that Edith Wharton and her husband build in the early part of the 20th century.

For book people the fun was talking to some really knowledgeable tour guides and hearing about some of the lesser known of Wharton's works.

Including Summer written in a passionate frenzy when Wharton was in Paris during the First World War exhausting herself raising money and running facilities for refugees escaping the war.

So she wrote about a poor girl, Charity, who came down from "The Mountain" (the slums) almost as a refugee herself and tried to make a new life as ward to a well to do lawyer who lives in a small and shabby town in the region.

And a charming man comes into town to sketch the old houses of the backwoods and he comes into the shabby old library first and meets Charity.

And love and sex and class and money rear their interesting heads and Charity tries to make sense of it all.

It's a book about class and sex and money and the roles of women (and girls) and the restrictions society placed on them. Like a lot of Wharton it's an angry book and a deeply felt story. You're going to care a lot about Charity

If Ethan Frome is Winter then this book is Summer. Each season can raise a person up or let them come crashing down.

Fun to see Wharton out of her "Gilded Age New York" frame and into somewhere very very different. An amazing little book. ( )
  magicians_nephew | Jun 12, 2019 |
This is my 3rd Wharton and it is in the middle with Ethan Frome being at the top and The Age of Innocence being at the bottom. This is classic Wharton, high society versus lower social classes; high society courts low society, leaves her in a lurch to marry his own kind. 144 pages ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Apr 24, 2019 |

This book seems shocking for a well-regarded author in 1917. Seduction is the least of it--a single woman pregnant, an female doctor who can "solve the problem" (indicating how not-uncommon her predicament was, the the word "abortion" is not used), the actual mention of "the babe". And then she marries her adoptive father? I can't help but wonder--given he had already asked her twice--if that was considered perfectly acceptable then? Because a century later, that is the most disturbing part of the book.

There are so many things going on here that could be discussed--city boy vs country girl; young woman with a job she can't do but got through her adoptive father; nature vs nurture in her coming from the mountain.

Definitely still relevant, but also dated. ( )
  Dreesie | Feb 14, 2019 |
Boring ( )
  Sean_Murphy | Dec 23, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edith Whartonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rattray, LauraEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Waid, CandaceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A girl came out of lawyer Royall’s house, at the end of the one street of North Dormer, and stood on the doorstep.
Edith Wharton was fifty-five years old when she wrote the novella "Summer" in 1917. (Introduction)
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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0451525663, 0140186794

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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