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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LIONEL SHRIVER Newland Archer and May Welland are the perfect couple. He is a wealthy young lawyer and she is a lovely and sweet-natured girl. All seems set for success until the arrival of May's unconventional cousin Ellen Olenska, who returns from Europe without her husband and proceeds to shake up polite New York society. To Newland, she is a breath of fresh air and a free spirit, but the bond that develops between them throws his values into confusion and threatens his relationship with May.
Edith Wharton was born on 24 January 1862 in New York. She was educated in both America and Europe. In 1885 she married Edward Robbins Wharton. In 1899 she published her first work, a collection of stories called The Greater Inclination. In 1900 she published her first novel, The Touchstone. She wrote many other works including travel writing, home decoration manuals, short stories and her famous novels The House of Mirth (1905), Ethan Frome (1911), The Custom of the Country (1913) and The Age of Innocence (1920). She lived in France from 1907. She was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1916 for her work helping refugees there during the war. Edith Wharton died on 11 August 1937.