Essay on Edith Newbold Jones Wharton

Essay on Edith Newbold Jones Wharton

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Edith Newbold Jones Wharton

The Novelist’s Life

All literary critics and sources that give accounts of Edith Newbold Jones
Wharton’s life seem to agree on the basic facts. Wharton was born in 1862 into a wealthy
family and raised during America’s Guilded Age. “ She was born into the lavish world of
inherited wealth, one which she benefited from greatly. This life of luxury provided
Wharton with a rich source of material which she used to challenge the attitudes of
America’s Guilded Age in her novels” (“World,”p.1). She spent portions of her childhood
growing up in places like Paris, Rome, and London, but received most of her education in
the United States. Wharton exhibited her talents in writing at a very early age. “I cannot remember a time when I did not want to make up stories” Wharton said in her
autobiography (DeCecco, p.1).

In 1885 Edith Wharton married the very well-to-do Edward Wharton and the
couple continued to live in American high society. “However, Wharton’s marriage proved
early on to be an unhappy one, and she was to suffer a series of nervous breakdowns as a
result” (DeCecco, p.1). In order to ease the strains of her marriage, Wharton began to
write again like she did as a child. Her first work was published in 1889; it was a book on interior decorating. Sixteen years later Wharton would write her first best seller, House of Mirth. “In the year 1911, she departed from her usual themes of jealousy, class system, and the condition of women in society to write Ethan Frome , possibly her most famous piece of writing” (DeCecco, p.2). However, “The World of Edith Wharton” disagrees with this fact saying that Ethan Frome was written in the year 1912. Two years later Wharton got a divorce from...

... middle of paper ...

...cters as well as the reader to make a choice between loyalty and true love. In an effort to escape this difficult choice, Ethan’s choice is made for him and
he is forced to live on enduring pain and misery.


DeCecco, Flora. “The Life of Edith Wharton.” Romance Communications January 1998:
1-2. Literary Index. Online. AOL. 5 April 1998.

Erlich, Gloria C. “A Bio-bibliographical note about Edith Wharton.” Edith Wharton
1992: 1-2. English Dept. Sites. Online. AOL. 5 April 1998.

Poepsei, Mark. “Ethan Frome: It’s Better Than You Might Think.” Literary Magazine
February 1998: 1-2. H-G Reviews: Ethan Frome. Online. AOL. 5 April 1998.

Riley, Carolyn, ed. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. 2 vol. Detroit: Gale
Research Company, 1983.

“World of Edith Wharton.” Arts Feature. Online. AOL. 5 April 1998.

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