The House of Mirth
Publication Date: August 2002
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Wharton's first literary success, set amid fashionable New York society, reveals the hypocrisy and destructive effects of the city's social circle on the character of Lily Bart. Impoverished but well-born, Lily must secure her future by acquiring a wealthy husband; but her downfall -- initiated by a romantic indiscretion -- results in gambling debts and social disasters.