No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton

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The first new biography of America's foremost woman of letters in twenty years, No Gifts from Chance presents an Edith Wharton for our times. Far from the emotionally withdrawn and neurasthenic victim of earlier portraits, she is revealed here as an ambitious, disciplined, and self-determined woman who fashioned life to her own desires. Drawing on government records, legal and medical documents, and recently opened collections of Wharton's letters, Shari Benstock's biography offers new information on what have been called the key mysteries of her life: the question of her paternity, her troubled relations with her mother and older brothers, her marriage to manic-depressive Teddy Wharton, and her extramarital affair with Morton Fullerton.

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NO GIFTS FROM CHANCE: A Biography of Edith Wharton

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This conscientious and inclusive biography of Wharton (born Edith Newbold ``Pussy'' Jones, 1862-1937) draws its obscure title from a poem by Matthew Arnold describing someone who ``conquered fate ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Shari Benstock is a professor of English & associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Miami. She is the author of several books, most recently "No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton." Along with Suzanne Ferriss, she edits "On Fashion" (Rutgers University Press, 1994).

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