The definitive biography of one of America's greatest writers, from the author of the acclaimed masterpiece Virginia Woolf. Born in 1862, Wharton escaped the suffocating fate of the well-born female, traveled adventurously in Europe and eventually settled in France. After tentative beginnings, she developed a forceful literary professionalism and thrived in a luminous society. Her life was fed by nonliterary enthusiasms as well: her fabled houses and gardens and the culture of the Old World, which she never tired of absorbing. Yet intimacy eluded her.
With profound empathy and insight, Lee brilliantly interweaves Wharton's life with the evolution of her writing, the full scope of which shows her to be far more daring than her stereotype as lapidarian chronicler of the Gilded Age. In its revelation of both the woman and the writer, Edith Wharton is a landmark biography.
"Lee's tremendous biography of one of the most important American writers rises to landmark status." (Booklist)
"One might think that R.W.B. Lewis' excellent 1975 biography had precluded the need for another book about Edith Wharton. Not so. Reading Lee's superb new biography is akin to comparing a fine watercolor sketch to a vivid masterpiece." (Publishers Weekly)
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Gardens Over Great Novels
- Aaron Elliott
Abridged version favors life over works