An immensely popular bestseller when published in 1905, The House of Mirth was Edith Whartons first great novel. Set among the elegant brownstones of New York City and opulent country houses like gracious Bellomont on the Hudson, the novel creates a satiric portrayal of what Wharton herself called a society of irresponsible pleasure-seekers with a precision comparable to that of Proust. And her brilliant and complex characterization of the doomed Lily Bart, whose stunning beauty and dependence on marriage for economic survival reduce her to a decorative object, becomes an incisive commentary on the nature and status of women in that society. From her tragic attraction to bachelor lawyer Lawrence Seldon to her desperate relationship with social-climbing Rosedale, Lily is all too much a product of the world indicated by the title, a phrase taken from Ecclesiastes: The heart of fools is in the house of mirth. For it is Lilys very specialness that threatens the elegance and fulfillment she seeks in life.
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born in New York and is best known for her stories of life among the upper-class society into which she was born. She was educated privately at home and in Europe. She married in 1885 and was divorced in 1912. In 1894, she began writing fiction, and her novel The House of Mirth (1905) established her as a leading writer. Her novels The Age of Innocence (1920) and Old New York (1924) were each awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and she was the first woman to receive that honor.
Anna Fields has found her true home behind the microphone after beginning her career on the stage in Washington, D.C. She has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards and won the coveted Audie Award in 2004.
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