Summer (Bantam Classics)

by Edith Wharton (Author)

Reading Level: 9th − 12th Grade
Series: Bantam Classics
Considered by some to be her finest work, Edith Wharton's "Summer" created a sensation when first published in 1917, as it was one of the first novels to deal honestly with a young woman's sexual awakening. "Summer" is the story of proud and independent Charity Royall, a child of mountain moonshiners adopted by a family in a poor New England town, who has a passionate love affair with Lucius Harney, an educated young man from the city. Wharton broke the conventions of woman's romantic fiction by making Charity a thoroughly contemporary woman--in touch with her feelings and sexuality, yet kept from love and the larger world she craves by the overwhelming pressures of environment and heredity. Praised for its realism and candor by such writers as Joseph Conrad and Henry James and compared to Flaubert's "Madame Bovary," "Summer" was one of Wharton's personal favorites of all her novels and remains as fresh and relevant today as when it was first written.
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Edith Wharton
The upper stratum of New York society into which Edith Wharton was born in 1862 provided her with an abundance of material as a novelist but did not encourage her growth as an artist. Educated by tutors and governesses, she was raised for only one career: marriage. But her marriage, in 1885, to Edward Wharton was an emotional disappointment, if not a disaster. She suffered the first of a series of nervous breakdowns in 1894. In spite of the strain of her marriage, or perhaps because of it, she began to write fiction and published her first story in 1889.

Her first published book was a guide to interior decorating, but this was followed by several novels and story collections. They were written while the Whartons lived in Newport and New York, traveled in Europe, and built their grand home, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. In Europe, she met Henry James, who became her good friend, traveling companion, and the sternest but most careful critic of her fiction. The House of Mirth (1905) was both a resounding critical success and a bestseller, as was Ethan Frome (1911). In 1913 the Whartons were divorced, and Edith took up permanent residence in France. Her subject, however, remained America, especially the moneyed New York of her youth. Her great satiric novel, The Custom of the Country was published in 1913 and The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

In her later years, she enjoyed the admiration of a new generation of writers, including Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In all, she wrote some thirty books, including an autobiography. A Backwards Glance (1934). She died at her villa near Paris in 1937.
Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780553214222
Lexile Measure
-
Guided Reading Level
-
Publisher
Bantam Classics
Publication date
July 19, 1993
Series
Bantam Classics
BISAC categories
FIC019000 - Fiction | Literary
FIC004000 - Fiction | Classics
FIC027170 - Fiction | Romance | Historical - Victorian
Library of Congress categories
Romance

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