Professor Beer’s study provides an introduction to the whole range of Edith Wharton’s work in the novel, short story, novella, travel writing, criticism and autobiography. The opening chapter provides an overview of recent scholarship in Wharton studies including an appraisal of biographical texts, and subsequent chapters treat recurrent themes and ideas in her fiction and non-fiction, and the American and European context of her work. The major novels, as well as those less well-known, are discussed as are: contemporary reception of her work, American responses to her expatriation, her friendships with the leading artists of her day, and the influence of the First World War on her work.
Janet Beer is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool. She was previously a Professor and Head of the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University and has also taught at Warwick University, Yale University – where she held fellowship – and the Roehampton Institute London. Her main areas of scholarship are early twentieth-century literature generally and Edith Wharton studies in particular. She has written introductions to four Wharton texts including The Age of Innocence (1995) as well as two full studies: Edith Wharton: Traveller in the Land of Letters (1995) and Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton and Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Studies in Short Fiction (1997).