NOVEL REFLECTIONS ON THE AMERICAN DREAM
NARRATOR: Wharton's book was met with great acclaim. It was a glimpse into a privileged world, and for many readers, that held irresistible allure. But, perhaps more importantly, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH seemed to confirm the morality of its day: Lily, the fallen woman, dies a tragic death.
The book was Wharton's first bestseller. It not only established her in American letters, but also afforded her greater independence from her husband, Teddy, whom she divorced a few years later.
From that time on she had many, many deep friendships. She even had a love affair. But, she never married again, and she arranged her life more and more the way she wanted it. Two houses in France -- one outside Paris and one in the South. And she had her friends visiting and she wrote every morning in bed and at 12 o'clock got dressed for the day. I mean she really arranged her life the way she wanted it arranged.