Edith Wharton considers the life of the early twentieth century American novelist and examines her fiction in opposition to both the male pastoral romance and the female domestic novel.
This stimulating reassessment of Edith Wharton by a leading authority on her work, will help to place Wharton's fiction against the nineteenth-century 'gendered' literary models. Like other American women writers, Wharton puts her protagonists within the social domestic world, but unlike them she emphasizes the restrictions imposed by the group on the individual.
The book opens with a discussion of Edith Wharton's life and then, in successive chapters, discusses her major social novels, including The House of Mirth, The Custom of the Country, The Age of Innocence and The Mother's Recompense. It ends with a useful review of the critical response to Wharton's writing.