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The Custom of the Country (Vintage Classics)by Edith Wharton
Synopses & Reviews
Edith Wharton’s lacerating satire on marriage and materialism in turn-of-the-century New York features her most selfish, ruthless, and irresistibly outrageous female character.
Undine Spragg is an exquisitely beautiful but ferociously acquisitive young woman from the Midwest who comes to New York to seek her fortune. She achieves her social ambitions—but only at the highest cost to her family, her admirers, and her several husbands. Wharton lavished on Undine an imaginative energy that suggests she was as fascinated as she was appalled by the alluring monster she had created. It is the complexity of her attitude that makes The Custom of the Country—with its rich social and emotional detail and its headlong narrative power—one of the most fully realized and resonant of her works.
Highly acclaimed at its publication in 1913, The Custom of the Country is a cutting commentary on Americas nouveaux riches, their upward-yearning aspirations and their eventual downfalls. Through her heroine, the beautiful and ruthless Undine Spragg, a spoiled heiress who looks to her next materialistic triumph as her latest conquest throws himself at her feet, Edith Wharton presents a startling, satiric vision of social behavior in all its greedy glory. As Undine moves from Americas heartland to Manhattan, and then to Paris, Whartons critical eye leaves no social class unscathed.
About the Author
Diane Johnson is the author of ten novels, most recently Le Mariage and Le Divorce, two books of essays, two biographies, and the screenplay for Stanley Kubricks classic film The Shining. She has been a finalist four times for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards.
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