The House of Mirth Edith Wharton - The House of Mirth is a 1905 novel by American author Edith Wharton. It tells the story of Lily Bart, a well-born but impoverished woman belonging to New York City's high society around the end of the 19th century. Wharton creates a portrait of a stunning beauty who, though raised and educated to marry well both socially and economically, is reaching her 29th year, an age when her youthful blush is drawing to a close and her marital prospects are becoming ever more limited. The House of Mirth traces Lily's slow two-year social descent from privilege to a tragically lonely existence on the margins of society. In the words of one scholar, Wharton uses Lily as an attack on "an irresponsible, grasping and morally corrupt upper class.Set among New York Citys high society at the turn of the twentieth century, famed American author Edith Whartons novel The House of Mirth (1905) follows twenty-nine-year-old Lily Bart, a beautiful but impoverished young woman whose social exclusion and decreasing marital prospects lead her to a life of misery and loneliness during a two-year period. Although Lily realizes she must marry a wealthy man to be happy, her indiscretions, gambling debts, and constant social mishaps lead to quite the opposite. Prior to publication, the novel was serialized in Scribners Magazine in January 1905, and would go on to solidify Whartons standing as a major commercial novelist. The House of Mirth has been adapted to the stage, radio, TV, and cinema, most recently in 2000 by English film director Terence Davies.Narrated in the third person omniscient perspective, the story begins in New York City in the late 1800s. Lily Bart is a gorgeous but poor twenty-nine-year-old socialite poised to marry a rich bachelor. Lilys primary suitor is Percy Gryce, whom she contrives to accidentally meet onboard a train. While visiting the affluent Judy and Gus Trenor, Lily is afforded the chance to converse with Percy. But Lily is distracted by Lawrence Selden, a young lawyer with a modest income. Despite his low financial standing, Selden appears to be Lilys perfect match. Complicating matters are George and Bertha Dorset, another wealthy couple attending the Trenor house. Bertha once had a romantic tryst with Selden and is now jealous that Selden is courting Lily. When Bertha informs Percy that Lily is flirting with Selden, Percy is scared away.A black comedy of manners about vast wealth and a woman who can define herself only through the perceptions of others. The beautiful Lily Bart lives among the nouveaux riches of New York City people whose millions were made in railroads, shipping, land speculation and banking. In this morally and aesthetically bankrupt world, Lily, age twenty-nine, seeks a husband who can satisfy her cravings for endless admiration and all the trappings of wealth. But her quest comes to a scandalous end when she is accused of being the mistress of a wealthy man. Exiled from her familiar world of artificial conventions, Lily finds life impossible.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines.