Born into wealth and aristocracy, Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was a member as well as an observer of fashionable New York society. Aspirations to authorship consigned her to outsider status among the idle rich; nevertheless, she drew upon her privileged social position to create witty and psychologically insightful novels and short stories about people from all walks of life.
This well-rounded introduction to Wharton's works features the complete text of her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Age of Innocence, as well as her haunting novella, Ethan Frome. Several excerpts from her highly influential guide to interior design, The Decoration of Houses, offer samples of Wharton's nonfiction style. The collection also includes four short stories as well as several poems.