Edith Wharton

(24 January 1862 – 11 August 1937 / New York City / United States)

Edith Wharton
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Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.

Early Life and Marriage

Wharton was born to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander in New York City. She had two brothers, Frederic Rhinelander and Henry Edward. The saying "Keeping up with the Joneses" is said to refer to her father's family. She was also related to the Rensselaer family, the most prestigious of the old patroon families. She had a lifelong friendship with her Rhinelander niece, landscape architect Beatrix Farrand of Reef Point in Bar Harbor, Maine, and often traveled with Henry James in Europe. Wharton combined her insider's view of ... more »

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  • There is too much sour grapes for my taste in the present American attitude. The time to denounce the bankers was when we were all feeding off their gold plate; not now! At present they have not only ...
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. letter, Feb. 11, 1934. The Letters of Edith Wharton (1988). The letter was written during the economic cri...
  • ''There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.''
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. "A First Word," A Backward Glance (1934).
  • I am secretly afraid of animals.... I think it is because of the usness in their eyes, with the underlying not-usness which belies it, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings ...
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; later relocated to France. Part 6. As quoted in Edith Wharton, by R.W.B. Lewis (1975). From a journal entr...
  • ''The American landscape has no foreground and the American mind no background.''
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; relocated to France. As quoted in Edith Wharton, ch. 9, by R. W. B. Lewis (1985). In a letter written to h...
  • I have been spending my first night in an American "summer hotel," and I despair of the Republic! Such dreariness, such whining callow women, such utter absence of the amenities, such crass food, cras...
    Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; relocated to France. As quoted in Edith Wharton, ch. 9, by R. W. B. Lewis (1975). Written in August 1904 t...
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