Three Novels of New York

The House of Mirth/The Custom of the Country/The Age of Innocence

By Edith Wharton; Richard Gray (Illustrator); Jonathan Franzen (Introduction by)
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143106555, 770pp.)

Publication Date: February 29, 2012

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Description
For the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton's birth: her three greatest novels in a couture-inspired deluxe edition featuring a new introduction by Jonathan Franzen.
Born into a distinguished New York family, Edith Wharton chronicled the lives of the wealthy, the well born, and the nouveau riches in fiction that often hinges on the collision of personal passion and social convention. This volume brings together her best-loved novels, all set in New York.
"The House of Mirth" is the story of Lily Bart, who needs a rich husband but refuses to marry without both love and money. "The Custom of the Country" follows the marriages and affairs of Undine Spragg, who is as vain, spoiled, and selfish as she is irresistibly fascinating. The Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Age of Innocence" concerns the passionate bond that develops between the newly engaged Newland Archer and his finacEe's cousin, the Countess Olenska, new to New York and newly divorced.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.



About the Author
Edith Newbold Jones was born January 24, 1862, into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the age of eighteen she had written a novella, (as well as witty reviews of it) and published poetry in the Atlantic Monthly. After a failed engagement, Edith married a wealthy sportsman, Edward Wharton. Despite similar backgrounds and a shared taste for travel, the marriage was not a success. Many of Wharton's novels chronicle unhappy marriages, in which the demands of love and vocation often conflict with the expectations of society.

Upon the publication of The House of Mirth in 1905, Wharton became an instant celebrity, and the the book was an instant bestseller, with 80,000 copies ordered from Scribner's six weeks after its release. Ethan Frome appeared six years later, solidifying Wharton's reputation as an important novelist.

Often in the company of her close friend, Henry James, Wharton mingled with some of the most famous writers and artists of the day, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Andre Gide, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau, and Jack London.

Wharton had a great fondness for dogs, and owned several throughout her life.



Richard Gray is Professor of Research Related to Nursing and Deputy Associate Dean for Research at the Faculty of Health, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Jonathan Franzen is a National Book Award and James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
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