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Edith Wharton: A brief personal history and overview of literary achievements
The cultural advancement of the 1920's has many important literary figures associated with it. Names such as T.S. Elliot, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald are some of the better-known names. Edith Wharton is one of the less known of the period, but is still a formidable writer. This paper will explore Ms. Wharton's life and history and give a brief background surrounding some of her more popular novels.
Ms. Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862, in her parents' mansion and West Twenty-Third Street in New York City. Her mother, Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander, connected with wealthy Dutch landowners and merchants of the early nineteenth century, was the granddaughter of an outstanding American Revolutionary War patriot, General Ebenezer Stevens. After the war, General Stevens became a very successful East-India merchant. Edith Wharton's father, a man of considerable, private, inherited wealth, did not follow a career in business. Rather, he lived a life of leisure, punctuated by his hobbies of sea fishing, boat racing, and wildfowl shooting (activities typical of wealthy men of the day). During her first few years, Edith Wharton's family alternated between New York City in the winter and Newport, Rhode Island, in the summer. At the time, Newport was a very fashionable place where New York City families of wealth might enjoy ocean breezes and participate in a ro!