Today is the birthday of Edith Newbold Jones, born on this day in 1862. We know her better as Edith Wharton, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and short story writer. Wharton was the first female author to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. She was also nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930 but never received the award.
She was born in New York City to a well to do family during the Civil War and spent much of her youth traveling Europe with her parents and two older brothers. She did not attend school, she was tutored and had a governess who helped shape her world view. She began writing poetry in 1877 and wrote a 30,000 word novella called “Fast and Loose” at age 15 which was not published after her death.
Her first novel was published in 1900 called “The Touchstone” and she continued writing and publishing until her death in 1937. Her most famous works include “Ethan Frome” published in 1911, “The Age of Innocence” published in 1920 which won the Pulitzer Prize and “The Buccaneers” published in 1938 just after her death.
As one of the most successful female authors of her time her works influenced generations of writers who followed. Most of her works remain in print today, a lasting recognition of her timelessness. She is one of the most collectible female American authors to this day. We have a nice selection of her works here at Landmark Books so come and check them out.