In 1905 she published her first of many best-sellers, "The House of Mirth." Most critics do not consider this her greatest book, but its popularity established her as a writer. This was in reality her first novel, although she had written long short stories in her other books. Its title came from the biblical assertion, "The heart of fools is in the House of Mirth," and it was a happy title for projecting, as Wilbur Cross once put it, "a group of pleasure-loving New Yorkers, mostly as dull as they are immoral, and letting them play out their drama unmolested by others."
Edith Wharton was the child as well as the author of the Age of Innocence. In her seventy-five years of life she published thirty-eight books, including that great love story, "Ethan Frome." But her reputation rested mostly upon her achievement as the chronicler of Fifth Avenue, when the brownstone front hid wealth and dignity at its ease upon the antimacassar-covered plush chairs of the Brown Decade.
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton -Read on Glose
At the time of their first meeting in 1903, James was working on The Golden Bowl, his intense and complex psychological portrait of a flawed aristocratic marriage, and its impact on a naïve young woman who learns and grows in maturity as a consequence of her husband’s venality. It’s interesting that Wharton’s House of Mirth, published a year after James’s novel, though set in New York, not England (where James had settled, and where his novel was set), has a plot and themes in some ways similar, but different in important ways. Even her title derives from the same book of the Old Testament.