Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer, and designer.
Early Life and Marriage
Wharton was born to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander in New York City. She had two brothers, Frederic Rhinelander and Henry Edward. The saying "Keeping up with the Joneses" is said to refer to her father's family. She was also related to the Rensselaer family, the most prestigious of the old patroon families. She had a lifelong friendship with her Rhinelander niece, landscape architect Beatrix Farrand of Reef Point in Bar Harbor, Maine, and often traveled with Henry James in Europe. Wharton combined her insider's view of... more »
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Edith Wharton Poems
I MEANT to be so strong and true! The world may smile and question, When? But what I might have been to you
I Immense, august, like some Titanic bloom, The mighty choir unfolds its lithic core,
THIS perfect love can find no words to say. What words are left, still sacred for our use, That have not suffered the sad world's abuse,
Not with her ruined silver spires, Not with her cities shamed and rent, Perish the imperishable fires
Botticelli's Madonna In The Louvre
WHAT strange presentiment, O Mother, lies On thy waste brow and sadly-folded lips, Forefeeling the Light's terrible eclipse
Great cities rise and have their fall; the brass That held their glories moulders in its turn. Hard granite rots like an uprooted weed,
On a sheer peak of joy we meet; Below us hums the abyss; Death either way allures our feet If we take one step amiss.
An Autumn Sunset
I LEAGUERED in fire The wild black promontories of the coast extend
Though life should come With all its marshalled honours, trump and drum, To proffer you the captaincy of some
I On immemorial altitudes august Grief holds her high dominion. Bold the feet
SOMEWHERE, O sun, some corner there must be Thou visitest, where down the strand Quietly, still, the waves go out to sea
Yon strange blue city crowns a scarped steep No mortal foot hath bloodlessly essayed: Dreams and illusions beacon from its keep.
NAY, lift me to thy lips, Life, and once more Pour the wild music through me -- I quivered in the reed-bed with my kind,
La Vierge Au Donateur
Here by the ample river’s argent sweep, Bosomed in tilth and vintage to her walls, A tower-crowned Cybele in armoured sleep
Quotationsmore quotations »
''There's no such thing as old age, there is only sorrow.''Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. "A First Word," A Backward Glance (1934).
I am secretly afraid of animals.... I think it is because of the usness in their eyes, with the underlying not-usness which belies it, and is so tragic a reminder of the lost age when we human beings ...Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; later relocated to France. Part 6. As quoted in Edith Wharton, by R.W.B. Lewis (1975). From a journal entr...
''The American landscape has no foreground and the American mind no background.''Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; relocated to France. As quoted in Edith Wharton, ch. 9, by R. W. B. Lewis (1985). In a letter written to h...
... how I understand that love of living, of being in this wonderful, astounding world even if one can look at it only through the prison bars of illness and suffering! Plus je vois, the more I am thr...Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author; relocated to France. As quoted in Edith Wharton, ch. 9, by R. W. B. Lewis (1985). In a letter written to h...
''When people ask for time, it's always for time to say no. Yes has one more letter in it, but it doesn't take half as long to say.''Edith Wharton (1862-1937), U.S. author. Judith, in The Children, ch. 25 (1928).
Comments about Edith Wharton
I MEANT to be so strong and true!
The world may smile and question, When?
But what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.
Just one in twenty to the rest,
And all in all to you alone, -
This was my dream; perchance 'tis best
That this, like other dreams, is flown.
For you I should have been so kind,
So prompt my spirit to control,
To win fresh vigor for my mind,
And purer beauties for my soul;
Beneath your eye I might have grown
To that divine, ideal height,
Which, mating wholly with your own,
Our equal ...