Edith Wharton's novels of manners seem to grow in stature as time passes. Here she draws a beautiful social climber, Undine Sprague, who is a monster of selfishness and honestly doesn't know it. Although the worlds she wants to conquer have vanished, Undine herself is amazingly recognizable. She marries well above herself twice and both times fails to recognize her husbands' strengths of character or the weakness of her own, and it is they, not she, who pay the price.
About the Author
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862, during the American Civil War. Wharton published her first short story in 1891; her first story collection, The Greater Inclination, in 1899; a novella called The Touchstone in 1900; and her first novel, a historical romance called The Valley of Decision, in 1902. The book that made Wharton famous was The House of Mirth, published in 1905. She died in 1937.
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Comments about The Custom of the Country:
Edith Wharton knew her social territory. As a member of the American social elite at the turn of 20th century, Wharton wrote unsparingly of the foibles and weaknesses of her class. The "heroine" of The Custon of the Country displays all these flaws, and yet the depth of Wharton's characterisation makes Undine Spragg an endlessly fascinating character.
Highly recommended as a incisive glimpse into this insulated world, where money, old and new, is the ongoing priority.
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: March 2007
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.9 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.29