cover image The Letters of Edith Wharton

The Letters of Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton. Scribner Book Company, $0 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-684-18585-9

Wharton (1874-1937) was not only a prolific novelist and short-story writer but a prolific correspondent, and this selection of close to 400 letters, many never-before published, shows her at her epistolary best. Divided into seven chronological sections, each with a useful introduction, the letters reveal a woman of alert mind, broad interests, numerous moods and appealing warmth of heart. She also was endowed with a singular capacity to evoke the life around her, ranging from the exoticism of North Africa to the horrors of the World War I front. A large proportion of the letters are to her friends Henry James and Bernard Berenson, while others address Scott Fitzgerald, Andre Gide and Theodore Roosevelt's sister. The letters that show her at her most passionate, and most vulnerable, are those she wrote to her lover Morton Fullerton. R.W.B. Lewis won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1975 Wharton biography; Nancy Lewis is his wife. Photos not seen by PW. (June)