The Custom of the Country

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Broadview Press, Sep 19, 2008 - Fiction - 486 pages

Ruthless and predatory, Edith Wharton’s seductive young heroine Undine Spragg exploits a series of husbands from the American west to New York and France in her search for one with the ideal combination of social power, money, and material possessions—something “more luxurious, more exciting, more worthy of her!” Wharton’s criticism of the leisure-class marriage market becomes a brilliant satire on the nature of desire, as the novel links marriage and divorce with selfish ambition and the culture of consumerism.

This Broadview edition provides a critical introduction and appendices that include Wharton’s outline for and correspondence about The Custom of the Country, excerpts from Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué’s novella Undine, and passages from works by Charles Darwin, Emma Goldman, Henry James, and Thorstein Veblen, among others.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jaysbooks - LibraryThing

about a horrible, selfish social climber--main character is so annoying that I could barely force myself to finish the book--proves that women today are lucky to be educated with careers so they can divert their energy toward better things than parties clothes and status Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DeltaQueen50 - LibraryThing

The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton tells the story of Undine Spragg, a Midwestern girl who attempts to scale the heights of New York City society. Undine is one of the most unique characters I ... Read full review


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The Custom of the Country
Edith Whartons Outline and Notes

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About the author (2008)

Sarah Emsley is a Preceptor of Expository Writing at Harvard University and the author of Jane Austen’s Philosophy of the Virtues (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).

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