Jonathan Franzen introduces our Graphic Classic Deluxe edition of Edith Wharton’s Three Novels of New York
For the 150th anniversary year 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 Countryfollows 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 finacée’s cousin, the Countess Olenska, new to New York and newly divorced.
He castigates Wharton for her privileged family, her looks, her too few women friends, her too many famous male friends, her money, her sexual ignorance, her charmlessness, and her methods of travel (via The Center for Fiction)
”I try and see what Wharton saw; what she loved and what she despised. I try to see the way things were when she was young; the way things were changing as she grew, the way she wanted things to look, and I try to reconcile that with what remains. When I do that, I have an easier time understanding Edith Wharton, her writing, and that little slice of New York I once tried so hard to avoid.” - Our own Jason Diamond on Edith Wharton’s interest in design at The Paris Review.