viii, 869 pages,  pages of plates : illustrations, genealogical table ; 24 cm
"This is a Borzoi Book"--Title page verso.
Originally published: London : Chatto & Windus, ©2007.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 765-835) and index.
Biographer Lee gives us a new Edith Wharton--tough, startlingly modern, as brilliant and complex as her fiction. Born in 1862, Wharton escaped the suffocating fate of the well-born female, traveled adventurously in Europe and eventually settled in France. She developed a forceful literary professionalism and thrived in a luminous society that included Bernard Berenson, Aldous Huxley and most famously Henry James, who here emerges more as peer than as master. Wharton's life was fed by nonliterary enthusiasms as well: houses and gardens, relief efforts during the Great War, and the culture of the Old World, which she never tired of absorbing. Yet intimacy eluded her: unhappily married and childless, her one brush with passion came and went in midlife, an affair intimately recounted here. Lee interweaves Wharton's life with the evolution of her writing, the full scope of which shows her to be far more daring than her stereotype as lapidarian chronicler of the Gilded Age.--From publisher description.