The House of Mirth
The first American novel to provide a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York’s aristocracy, it is the story of the beautiful and beguiling Lily Bart, and her ill-fated attempt to rise to the heights of a heartless society in which, ultimately, she has no part. From the staid conventionality of Old New York to the forced conviviality of the French Riviera, from the drawing room of Gus Trenor’s Bellomont to the dreary resort of a downtown boardinghouse, a brilliantly satiric yet sensitive exploration of manners and morality.
When it was published in 1905, it became a literary sensation and quickly established Edith Wharton as the most important American woman of letters in the twentieth century.
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The House of Mirth first appeared in eleven issues of Scribner’s Magazine from January to November 1905. Wharton produced the periodical version hurriedly, on a tight schedule, and made several revisions between the serial and book publication by Charles Scribner’s Sons in October 1905.
This authoritative text is reprinted from the Library of america edition of Novels by Edith Wharton, and is based on the 1905 book publication The House of Mirth, which accurately reflects Wharton’s final decisions concerning the wording and pointing of her novel.