Lover of the Fancy

Early C20th American culture and dissent

The House of Mirth
Edith Wharton


The House of Mirth follows the tragic fall of Lily Bart, a beautiful socialite who loses her footing in the savage social-climbing world of New York high society in the nineteenth century. Lily Bart has no fortune, but she possesses everything else she needs to make an excellent marriage: beauty, intelligence, a love of luxury and an elegant skill in negotiating the hidden traps and false friends of New York’s high society. But time and again Lily cannot bring herself to make the final decisive move: to abandon her sense of self and a chance of love for the final soulless leap into a mercenary union. Her time is running out, and degradation awaits. Edith Wharton’s masterful novel is a tragedy of money, morality and missed opportunity.

Paperback, 368pp
Vintage Classics, 2011 (1905)
ISBN 9780099540762