Sunday, 24 January 2010

On this day...

American novelist and short story writer Edith Wharton, was born in 1862. The daughter of a wealthy New York family, Wharton enjoyed the privileges of the class system which existed in a pre-Civil War society, and as such, was expected to fulfil her role of the typical housewife. Yet her intellectual promise and talent for writing, both of which manifested themselves at a young age, ensured that she remained unmarried until the age of 23.  She then married socialite Edward Wharton, in possession or neither profession or fotrune, in what she later called her 'greatest mistake'. However the marriage was blighted by unhappiness, and following affairs on both parts, they finally divorced in 1913; an experience that weighed heavily on Wharton's mental health. Themes of divorce, oppressive socities and failing marriages became commonplace in her writing, to which she returned. She spent much of her later life abroad, especially in France, and it was here that she wrote her most famous work, 'The Age of Innocence', winner of the 1921 Pulitzer Prize. Wharton had written over 85 short stories by the time of her death in 1937, at the age of 75.

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