Summer

Front Cover
Signet Classic, 1993 - Fiction - 196 pages
17 Reviews
Considered by some to be her finest work, Edith Wharton's "Summer" created a sensation when first published in 1917, as it was one of the first novels to deal honestly with a young woman's sexual awakening. "Summer" is the story of proud and independent Charity Royall, a child of mountain moonshiners adopted by a family in a poor New England town, who has a passionate love affair with Lucius Harney, an educated young man from the city. Wharton broke the conventions of woman's romantic fiction by making Charity a thoroughly contemporary woman--in touch with her feelings and sexuality, yet kept from love and the larger world she craves by the overwhelming pressures of environment and heredity. Praised for its realism and candor by such writers as Joseph Conrad and Henry James and compared to Flaubert's "Madame Bovary," "Summer" was one of Wharton's personal favorites of all her novels and remains as fresh and relevant today as when it was first written.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jmoncton - LibraryThing

The plot of Summer is a story that we are very familiar with. A young lower class girl in a small town falls in love with a visiting wealthy young man, and starts a sexual relationship with him under ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookworm12 - LibraryThing

When she was 5-years-old Charity Royall was rescued from a life of poverty with her prostitute mother when a wealthy man became her guardian. Instead of growing up in the mountain community with her ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

The upper stratum of New York society into which Edith Wharton was born in 1862 provided her with an abundance of material as a novelist but did not encourage her growth as an artist. Educated by tutors and governesses, she was raised for only one career: marriage. But her marriage, in 1885, to Edward Wharton was an emotional disappointment, if not a disaster. She suffered the first of a series of nervous breakdowns in 1894. In spite of the strain of her marriage, or perhaps because of it, she began to write fiction and published her first story in 1889.Her first published book was a guide to interior decorating, but this was followed by several novels and story collections. They were written while the Whartons lived in Newport and New York, traveled in Europe, and built their grand home, the Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. In Europe, she met Henry James, who became her good friend, traveling companion, and the sternest but most careful critic of her fiction. The House of Mirth (1905) was both a resounding critical success and a bestseller, as was Ethan Frome (1911). In 1913 the Whartons were divorced, and Edith took up permanent residence in France. Her subject, however, remained America, especially the moneyed New York of her youth. Her great satiric novel, The Custom of the Country was published in 1913 and The Age of Innocence won her the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.In her later years, she enjoyed the admiration of a new generation of writers, including Sinclair Lewis and F. Scott Fitzgerald. In all, she wrote some 30 books, including an autobiography, A Backward Glance (1934). She died at her villa near Paris in 1937.

Candace Waid, PhD, is professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Some of Professor Waid's central interests include American literature and culture, African American literature, and Southern literature. Professor Waid's books include Edith Wharton's Letters from the Underworld: Fictions of Women and Writing and The Signifying Eye: Seeing Faulkner's Art.

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