Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, was born on January 24, 1862, 150 years ago today.
Born Edith Newbold Jones into a wealthy American family - her family is said to have been the Joneses of "keeping up with the Joneses" fame - she was raised in part in Europe, and published her first stories and poetry even before she made her debut in society.
She went on the write 49 volumes of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of her most famous works explore the precarious position of women who defy society's expectations, through characters including Lily Bart in The House of Mirth and Countess Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence.
Wharton also designed and built The Mount, a country home in Lenox, Massachusetts, which is now a National Historic Landmark, one of very few dedicated to women.
I'm the author of The Four Ms. Bradwells (just out in paperback as a Random House Reader's Circle Selection), The Wednesday Sisters, The Language of Light, and the forthcoming The Wednesday Daughters.
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