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Edith Wharton:

Celebrating 150 Years

an Exhibition

January 4, 2012 - January 31, 2012

curated by
Laurie Rizzo

2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of American author Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937). Born into a prominent, wealthy, New York City family; throughout her life she rebelled against the high–society leisure lifestyle. Wharton often wrote critically about the societal norms of the upper–class to which she was subjected. Many of her works are well–known for the main characters suffering twists of fate and devastating irony.

The Greater Inclination. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1899 (Boston: Merrymount Press).

Wharton published her first collection of short stories in 1899. Critical reception and sales were positive. Seen here is the colored title vignette.

The Age of Innocence. San Francisco: Arion Press, 2004.

First published in 1920, Wharton won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. This limited edition includes modern day photographs of the New York locations described throughout the novel. This is the photographer, Stephen Shore’s autographed copy.

Twelve Poems London: Published by the Medici Society, 1926.

Author’s autograph.

Ethan Frome [New York]: Printed for the members of the Limited Editions Club, 1939.

First published in 1911, this limited edition with drawings by Henry Varnum Poor was published in 1939. Mattie comes to care for her cousin Zeena Frome, who is in poor health and sour mood. Pictured here; Ethan and Mattie take solace in each other’s company, hiding their secret love for one another as Zeena’s cat watches them while Zeena is out of the house.

The House of Mirth. Illustrations by A.B. Wenzell. New York: C. Schribner’s Sons, 1905.

In 1905, Wharton’s second novel was published it was the best–selling book in New York. The story of Lily Bart, who descends from good social standing after accepting an invitation to a private room of a bachelor of modest means, but who she truly loves. After a series of reputation ruining, gossip–created scandals from various incidents, she dies impoverished of an overdose of a sleeping aid.

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