This seems to us to be of interest only to rabid admirers of Mrs. Wharton or readers who yearn to inject themselves once again into high Victorian society- both in England and America. Most readers will find it slow going and over-written and stilted. Most bookshops can pass it by -- except as a period piece, of rather doubtful value. Too bad- there should be a place for a significant biography of this eminent figure in American letters. This volume is a highly personal, highly romanticized biography, built from personal reminiscences, letters to the author and so on. One gets an impression of oppressive gentility, wit and charm -- of slow-motion Victorian elegance. And only rarely does a live personality come through- and never in rounded terms. The ""portrait of Edith Wharton"" still needs to be done.