Wharton, Edith: Further Reading

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Garrison, Stephen. Edith Wharton: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990, 514 p.

Provides a descriptive bibliography.

Lauer, Kristin O. and Margaret P. Murray. Edith Wharton: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Pub., 1990, 528 p.

Offers an annotated bibliography.


Benstock, Shari. No Gifts From Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994, 546 p.

Biography of Wharton.

Coolidge, Olivia. Edith Wharton, 1862-1937. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1964, 221 p.

Biography of Wharton.

Dwight, Eleanor. Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life. New York: Abrams, 1994, 296 p.

Biography of Wharton.

Lewis, R. W. B. Edith Wharton: A Biography. New York: Harper & Row, 1975, 592 p.

Definitive biography of Wharton.

McDowell, Margaret B. Edith Wharton. Boston: Twayne, 1976, 158 p.

Provides a biographical and critical overview of Wharton's life and career.

Singley, Carol J., editor. A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003, 302 p.

Offers a biographical and critical examination of Wharton.

Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. A Feast of Words: The Triumph of Edith Wharton. New York: Oxford University Press, 1977, 453 p.

Offers a biographical and critical analysis of Wharton's career.


Anderson, Hilton. "Edith Wharton as Fictional Heroine." South Atlantic Quarterly 69, no. 1 (winter 1970): 118-23.

Highlights the parallels between Wharton's heroines and her own life.

Bell, Millicent, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995, 210 p.

Gathers critical essays on various aspects of Wharton's oeuvre.

Brooks, Kristina. "New Woman, Fallen Woman: The Crisis of Reputation in Turn-of-the-Century Novels by Pauline Hopkins and Edith Wharton." Legacy 13, no. 1 (1996): 91-111.

Compares and contrasts the figures of the Victorian "fallen woman" and the modern "new woman" as models of female identity represented in The House of Mirth and Pauline Hopkins's Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South.

Erlich, Gloria C. "The Female Conscience in Wharton's Shorter Fiction: Domestic Angel or Inner Demon?" In The Cambridge Companion to Edith Wharton, edited by Millicent Bell, pp. 98-116. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Traces the representation of the female conscience in Wharton's short stories to the literary conventions of sentimental fiction and to the internalized voice of the author's own mother.

Fedorko, Kathy A. Gender and the Gothic in the Fiction of Edith Wharton. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995, 198 p.

Investigates the use and revision of literary Gothic conventions in Wharton's realistic novels "to explore the tension between feminine and masculine ways of knowing and being."

French, Marilyn. Introduction to The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. New York: Berkley Books, 1981.

A general foreword on Wharton, this introduction was also printed in the Berkley Books edition of Summer and treats feminist concerns in Wharton's canon.

——. Introduction to The Reef, by Edith Wharton, pp. v-ix. London: Virago Press, 1983.

Explicates the central theme of The Reef, commenting on the novel's setting and main characters in relation to it.

Heller, Tamar. "Victorian Sensationalism and the Silence of Maternal Sexuality in Edith Wharton's The Mother's Recompense." Narrative 5, no. 2 (May 1997): 135-42.

A study of the plot and theme of The Mother's Recompose in light of the conventions of Victorian melodrama and sensationalism, tracing the aesthetic and ideological implications of the novel to its literary predecessors.

Herman, David. "Style-Shifting in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth." Language and Literature 10, no. 1 (February 2001): 61-77.

Shows that the gendered social styles of speech in The House of Mirth accounts for the antagonistic relationships between men and women in daily life.

Jessup, Josephine Lurie. "Edith Wharton: Drawing-Room Devotee." In The Faith of Our Feminists, pp. 14-33. New York: Richard R. Smith, 1950.

Examines male-female conflicts in Wharton's fiction.

Jurecic, Ann. "The Fall of the Knowledgeable Woman: The Diminished Female Healer in Edith Wharton's The Fruit of the Tree." American Literary Realism, 1870-1910 29, no. 1 (fall 1996): 29-53.

Analyzes the characterization of Justine Brent in The Fruit of the Tree in terms of a contrast between the conventions of literary realism and sentimental fiction.

Lidoff, Joan. "Another Sleeping Beauty: Narcissism in The House of Mirth." American Quarterly 32, no. 5 (winter 1980): 519-39.

Contends that The House of Mirth is "a romance of identity" that portrays Lily Bart as a self-obsessed child-woman whose maturation destroys her.

Marchand, Mary V. "Death to Lady Bountiful: Women and Reform in Edith Wharton's The Fruit of the Tree." Legacy 18, no. 1 (2001): 65-78.

Elucidates the feminist subtext that informs the structure of The Fruit of the Tree, focusing on the connection between the conventions of early twentieth-century women's writings and industrial reform objectives.

McDowell, Margaret B. "Viewing the Custom of Her Country: Edith Wharton's Feminism." Contemporary Literature 15, no. 4 (autumn 1974): 521-38.

Traces the evolution of feminist concerns implicit in Wharton's writings, noting her changing attitudes toward women throughout her life.

McGowan, Marcia Phillips. "Female Development as Sub-text in Edith Wharton's Final Novels." Connecticut Review 15, no. 2 (fall 1993): 73-80.

Examines Hudson River Bracketed and The Gods Arrive as encoded fictions of female development, or examples of the bildungsroman form.

McManis, Jo Agnew. "Edith Wharton's Hymns to Respectability." Southern Review 7, no. 4 (October 1971): 986-93.

Analyzes the theme of female self-sacrifice in Wharton's novels, assessing the motives of the characters.

Orr, Elaine Neil. "Negotiation Our Text: The Search for Accommodations in Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth." In Subject to Negotiation: Reading Feminist Criticism and American Women's Fictions, pp. 27-45. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.

Reviews previous feminist readings of The House of Mirth and Lily Bart's characterization, showing that the novel's themes of marriage and sorority are represented as interrelated rather than as a choice between options available to women.

Pierpont, Claudia Roth. "Cries and Whispers." New Yorker (4 April 2001): 66-75.

Reviews the two-volume Collected Stories, detailing Wharton's life and career in terms of the stories' plots, themes, and characters.

Wagner-Martin, Wendy. The Portable Edith Wharton. New York: Penguin Books, 2003, 656 p.

Work dedicated to Wharton, includes bibliography.

Williams, Deborah. "Threats of Correspondence: The Letters of Edith Wharton, Zona Gale, and Willa Cather." Studies in American Fiction 25, no. 2 (autumn 1997): 211-39.

Examines selected correspondence between Wharton, Willa Cather, and Zona Gale to illustrate each writer's strategy of identification with and separation from their public personae as women writers.

——. "Introduction: 'Strangled with a Petticoat.'" In Not in Sisterhood: Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, Zona Gale, and the Politics of Female Authorship, pp. 1-10. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Examines the reasons behind Wharton's and Cather's hostility toward fellow women writers, contrasting their attitudes with that of Gale, whose feminist literary accomplishments remain largely unknown.

Woods, Susan L. "The Solace of Separation: Feminist Theory, Autobiography, Edith Wharton, and Me." In Creating Safe Space: Violence and Women's Writing, edited by Tomoko Kuribayashi and Julie Tharp, pp. 27-46. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998.

Analyzes the gendered spatial signifiers in The Mother's Recompense in terms of the heroine's struggles to articulate her voice and place in patriarchal society.


Additional coverage of Wharton's life and career is contained in the following sources published by the Gale Group: American Writers; American Writers: The Classics, Vol. 2; American Writers Retrospective Supplement, Vol. 1; Authors and Artists for Young Adults, Vol. 25; Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction: Biography & Resources, Vol. 3; Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography, 1865-1917; Contemporary Authors, Vol. 132; Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vols. 4, 9, 12, 78, 189; Dictionary of Literary Biography Documentary Series, Vol. 13; DISCovering Authors; DISCovering Authors:British Edition; DISCovering Authors: Canadian Edition; DISCovering Authors Modules: Most-studied Authors and Novelists; DISCovering Authors 3.0; Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, Ed. 3; Exploring Short Stories; Literature and Its Times, Vols. 2, 3; Literature and Its Times Supplement, Ed. 1; Literature Resource Center; Major 20th-Century Writers, Eds. 1, 2; Modern American Women Writers; Novels for Students, Vols. 5, 11, 15; Reference Guide to American Literature, Ed. 4; Reference Guide to Short Fiction, Ed. 2; St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers; Short Stories for Students, Vols. 6, 7; Short Story Criticism, Vol. 6; Supernatural Fiction Writers; Twayne's United States Authors; Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vols. 3, 9, 27, 53, 129; 20th Century Romance and Historical Writers; and World Literature Criticism.

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