THE SELECTED SHORT STORIES OF EDITH WHARTON by R.W.B. Lewis

THE SELECTED SHORT STORIES OF EDITH WHARTON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Twenty-one of Wharton's stories (``never before available in one volume,'' according to the publisher) that have been selected and edited by her Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer. In an introduction, Lewis outlines the salient points of Wharton's career and, referring to what he considers the major themes in her writing, discusses briefly the stories here that best represent them. According to Lewis, Wharton's ``imagination habitually ranged and roamed between generic extremes, between social realism and quasi-mythic ghost stories,'' with ``excursions into social and cultural satire along the way.'' The ghost stories here include the last story she wrote, ``All Souls''; the eerie ``The Lady's Bell''; and ``Mr. Jones.'' In a subcategory of this genre there are such psychological mysteries as ``The Eyes,'' ``Pomegranate Seed,'' and ``A Bottle of Perrier.'' And then there are the splendid tales that, while they dissect society and individuals with ruthless perception and acuity, are never judgmental or sentimental--stories like the classic ``Roman Fever,'' the wry ``The Mission of Jane,'' and the poignant ``Autres Temps.'' With few exceptions, then: a most welcome new collection.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1991
ISBN: 0-684-19304-3
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991




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