The Custom of the Country (Paperback)

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The Custom of the Country By Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin (Editor), Linda Wagner-Martin (Introduction by), Linda Wagner-Martin (Notes by) Cover Image
By Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin (Editor), Linda Wagner-Martin (Introduction by), Linda Wagner-Martin (Notes by)
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Staff Reviews

Names, places, technology, pomp, and circumstance may change with time but society's need for gossip and the innately human urge to climb the ladder remains immortal in one of Wharton's most readable novels.

— Alex H.


Considered by many to be her masterpiece, Edith Wharton's second full-length work is a scathing yet personal examination of the exploits and follies of the modern upper class. As she unfolds the story of Undine Spragg, from New York to Europe, Wharton affords us a detailed glimpse of what might be called the interior décor of this America and its nouveau riche fringes. Through a heroine who is as vain, spoiled, and selfish as she is irresistibly fascinating, and through a most intricate and satisfying plot that follows Undine's marriages and affairs, she conveys a vision of social behavior that is both supremely informed and supremely disenchanted. This edition features a new introduction and explanatory notes and reset text.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

About the Author

Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862, during the American Civil War. Wharton published her first short story in 1891; her first story collection, The Greater Inclination, in 1899; a novella called The Touchstone in 1900; and her first novel, a historical romance called The Valley of Decision, in 1902. The book that made Wharton famous was The House of Mirth, published in 1905. She died in 1937.

Linda Wagner-Martin is Frank Borden Hanes Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the editor of The Portable Edith Wharton.

Praise For…

"Edith Wharton's finest achievement."
--Elizabeth Hardwick

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780143039709
ISBN-10: 0143039709
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: May 30th, 2006
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: Penguin Classics