From Hermione Lee, the internationally acclaimed, award-winning biographer of Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather , comes a superb reexamination of one of the most famous American women of letters.
Delving into heretofore untapped sources, Lee does away with the image of the snobbish bluestocking and gives us a new Edith Wharton-tough, startlingly modern, as brilliant and complex as her fiction. Born into a wealthy family, Wharton left America as an adult and eventually chose to create a life in France. Her renowned novels and stories have become classics of American literature, but as Lee shows, Wharton's own life, filled with success and scandal, was as intriguing as those of her heroines. Bridging two centuries and two very different sensibilities, Wharton here comes to life in the skillful hands of one of the great literary biographers of our time.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Edith Wharton|
|Release Date: 12-24-2008|
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In Paris, in February 1848, a young American couple on their Grand Tour of Europe found themselves, to their surprise, in the middle of a French revolution. Up to then, the travels of George Frederic Jones and his wife of three years, Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander Jones, with their one-year-old son, Frederic, had been undramatic. They had a lengthy European itinerary, the usual thing for Americans of their class, backed by the substantial funds of the Jones family, one of the leading, old-established New York clans. Starting in England and Paris in April 1847, they had "done" Brussels, Amsterdam, Hanover, Berlin and Dresden, Prague, Linz, Salzburg and Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne, Coblenz, Friburg, Geneva, Lake Como and the major Italian cities. George Frederic, at twenty-seven an experienced traveller (his father had taken him on his first European tour when he was seventeen), was able to indulge all his appetites for architecture, scenery, paintings, collectable objects, shopping, theatre, entertainment and seeing life. "Lu," though more limited by looking after little Frederic and by her frequent illnesses and "her tremendous headaches," was very definite about what she liked and did not like on her first trip abroad: "Lu rather disgusted with the Catholic ceremonies." 
George Frederic voiced his own prejudices confidently all over Europe. "More disgusted than ever with London . . . London prices are fearful . . . Decidedly disgusted with Milan." In Amsterdam, "the smell from the canal in most parts of the city fearful . . . Drove to the Jewish synagoage [sic] . . . but as soon as the carriage stopped, we were surr...