Monday, August 21, 2006

From 2004 (see also all the NYTimes pieces on Wharton at; registration is required, but some articles are free)

Edith Wharton: A Manhattan Literary Giant Who Didn't Love New York


Published: September 12, 2004

EDITH WHARTON, whose deft portraits of the upper class are taken as definitive accounts of the late 19th century, remains one of the most potent names in the literature of New York. Not that she was a partisan of the city. Her portraits of New York were almost uniformly negative, and she left the city as soon as she could. That's why, in part, the physical traces of the author of "The Age of Innocence" and "The House of Mirth" are few and far between. Edith Newbold Jones, as she was called at birth, was born in 1862 to George Frederic Jones and his wife, the former Lucretia Rhinelander, both from genteel families with roots in 18th century New York. In 1857 they built a brownstone at 14 West 23rd Street. The house as the family knew it is long gone, but an early photograph shows a wide, Anglo-Italianate-style brownstone mansion four stories high, with rusticated stone on the ground floor and simple window moldings on the floors above. The Jones house had a certain repose about it — it might have been designed by a master builder, or perhaps even a real architect. (Go to NYT for more)

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