Edith Wharton

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New York City,

Edith Wharton was an American writer who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927, 1928, and 1930, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928, and 1930. She was most known for writing stories and novels set in upper-class society, which she was born into and was intimately familiar with. During the Civil War, she was born into an affluent family in New York City. She traveled widely with her parents as a child, visiting countries such as France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. While the family was on the road, she was schooled by tutors and governesses, and she showed a strong desire to learn. Her mother prevented her from reading novels until she was married, so she read a variety of books from her father’s library. Edith began writing poetry and prose as a child, but she did not pursue it actively until after she had been married for some years. After marrying a wealthy banker in 1885, she made acquaintances with writers such as Egerton Winthrop, Henry James, and Walter Berry, who encouraged her to pursue her passion for writing. She first released a book in 1899, and it didn’t take her long to establish herself as a notable short story and novelist. She won numerous awards for her writing, including the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921.

Childhood and Adolescence

Edith Newbold Jones was born on January 24, 1862, in New York, to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander during the Civil War. She was the younger of two brothers. Edith had a tumultuous connection with her mother, who was cold and unsympathetic.
Her family traveled regularly, and she went to Europe for the first time when she was four years old, in 1866. The family traveled to France, Italy, Germany, and Spain during the next six years, and she became fluent in French, German, and Italian as a result of her travels.

Her basic education was provided by tutors and governesses, and she had an insatiable hunger for information. She began reading books from her father’s library on her own since she was dissatisfied with her education.

She began writing short stories when she was six years old, but her mother never encouraged her. As a result, she decided to focus solely on poetry. She would struggle as a writer for long years before ultimately gaining the recognition she deserved.

She married Edward Wharton, a wealthy banker, in 1885. She began writing seriously only after her marriage, and in 1889, she submitted three poems for publication, one of which was chosen.

Her difficulties as a writer persisted, but she never gave up. She made connections with people like Henry James, Egerton Winthrop, Walter Berry, William Brownell, and Edward Burlingame at this time, who recognized her talent and encouraged her to write.

With the publication of her novel ‘The House of Mirth’ in 1905, Edith Wharton finally achieved her first major success. The narrative of a well-born but impoverished woman from New York City’s high society resonated to readers and became a hit.

She wrote a slew of other novels in a short period of time, and her novel ‘Ethan Frome,’ published in 1911, was even more successful. It presented the tragic story of an unhappy married farmer who falls in love with another woman in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. The book was once dubbed “the last great American love story” by Elmer Davis.

When World War I broke out, she was residing in Paris. She launched a sewing business and opened a workroom for unemployed women, which grew over time. She assisted in the establishment of the American Hostels for Refugees when the Germans conquered Belgium and the Belgian refugees flooded Paris.

She stayed active in philanthropic activities for refugees, the injured, the unemployed, and the displaced throughout the war. She raised over $100,000 for the migrants and established the Children of Flanders Rescue Committee, which housed nearly 900 Belgian refugees.

Throughout the war, she continued to write and publish novels, short tales, and poems, as well as reporting for the ‘New York Times.’ The love novel ‘Summer,’ the war novella ‘The Marne,’ and the war story ‘A Son at the Front’ were among her most notable works during the war years.

‘The Age of Innocence,’ her most famous novel, was released in 1920. The story delves into the issue of moral standards in 1870s New York society. It became her most well-known piece, and it brought her a lot of praise.

Major Projects of Edith Wharton

One of her best-known novels is ‘Ethan Frome,’ which depicts the story of an unhappy man who is torn between his moral obligations to his wife and the passionate love he has for another woman. In 1993, the novel was turned into a film, ‘Ethan Frome.’

‘The Age of Innocence,’ her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, is set in upper-class New York City in the 1870s, during the so-called Gilded Age. It centers on a young, well-known, and wealthy lawyer who is imprisoned in a loveless marriage and in love with another lady whom he can never possess.

Achievements & Awards

In April 1916, the President of France named Edith Wharton Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, the country’s highest honor, in honor of her contributions to the war effort.

For the novel “The Age of Innocence,” she won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for the first time in 1921.

Personal History and Legacy

In 1885, Edith Wharton married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton, a 12-year senior. He was a well-known banker as well as a sportsman. The first years of their marriage were joyous, and the pair spent a lot of time together traveling. Her husband then had acute depression, which had a negative impact on their marriage.

In 1908, she began an affair with journalist Morton Fullerton.

In 1913, she divorced Edward after 28 years of marriage.

Edith Wharton died of a stroke on August 11, 1937, and is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France, with her long-time companion Walter Berry.

Estimated Net Worth

Edith is one of the wealthiest novelists and one of the most well-known. Edith Wharton’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.