Edith Wharton is one of America's most celebrated female novelists, with an esteemed devotion to fiction works. Wharton was born Edith Jones in 1862, into an upper class New York City family. She was engaged at a young age, yet the marriage was called off because of the Jones family's snobbish reputation. Jones finally married Edward Wharton in 1885, though and though her marriage soon went to ruins, she remained married to Wharton for over twenty years. Edith Wharton finally divorced her husband in 1913, but never relinquished his last name. .
The loveless marriage Wharton endured for 28 years adds greatly to her success as a writer. With an unhappy matrimony, Wharton devoted her energy to her writing, causing wide-reaching success, which was at that time unusual for a woman. It is a fact that Wharton's physician advised her to take up fiction writing to relieve stress. Wharton found other outlets as well, having numerous affairs. One particular with noted journalist Morton Fullerton, soon ended Wharton's troublesome marriage. During her turbulent affairs and immediately following her divorce were times Wharton wrote many of her best works.
Wharton had overcome a great hurdle in literature. A female author so widely known was rare in her era, and many critics stated she was an "immoral radical" in her younger years. Morality became a favorite concern in many of Wharton's works, and conformity was oftentimes in opposition to rebellion and immorality. The two were universal stances, and touched many on a personal basis, resulting in Wharton's great success.
Wharton, like many other novelists, produced several short stories and novels, but found true success in The House of Mirth in 1905. After much critical acclaim, Wharton settled in Paris, France in the 1910's, where she would live until death. Her close friend and associate in France was fellow American Henry James, who shared Wharton's passion for moral vs.