A bestseller when it was published nearly a century ago, this literary classic established Edith Wharton as one of the most important American writers in the twentieth century--now with a new introduction from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan. Wharton's first literary success--a devastatingly accurate portrait of New York's aristocracy at the turn of the century--is considered by many to be her most important novel, and Lily Bart, her most unforgettable character. Impoverished but well-born, the beautiful and beguiling Lily realizes a secure future depends on her acquiring a wealthy husband. But with her romantic indiscretion, gambling debts, and a maelstrom of social disasters, Lily's ill-fated attempt to rise to the heights of society ultimately leads to her downfall.
From the conventionality of old New York to the forced society of the French Riviera, Wharton weaves a brilliantly satiric yet sensitive exploration of manners and morality. The House of Mirth reveals Wharton's unparalleled gifts as a storyteller and her clear-eyed observations of the savagery beneath the well-bred surface of high society.