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Her range of setting and subject matter is dazzling, and her mastery of style consistently sure. Here are all the aspects of Wharton's art: her satire, sometimes gentle, sometimes dark and despairing, of upper-class manners; her unblinking recognition of the power of social convention and the limits of passion; her merciless exposure of commercial motivations; her candid exploration of relations between the sexes.
The stories range with cosmopolitan ease from her native New York to the salons and summer hotels of Newport, Paris, and the Italian lakes. The depth of her response to World War I is registered in such works as "The Marne". Of particular interest are the remarkable stories which treat occult and supernatural themes rarely encountered in her novels, such as the classic ghost stories "The Eyes" and "Pomegranate Seed".
Edith Wharton (1862-1937) enjoyed a prolific career that stretched over forty years and included the publication of more than forty books, among them such classics as The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence, for which she became the first women to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Maureen Howard, the editor of this volume, is the author of numerous novels, including Grace Abounding, Expensive Habits, and Natural History, all of which were nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award. She has taught at a number of American universities, including Columbia, Princeton, Amherst, and Yale, and was awarded the Academy Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
"Wharton's examinations of upper-class New York society were rendered in effortless prose so subtle that many readers missed the depth and breadth of her art. These two collections of short fiction belong on the shelves of anyone who loves literature." --Dallas Morning News "A splendid and satisfying publication, and a landmark in the history of Edith Wharton's ever-shifting reputation." --New York Review of Books