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Roman Fever (and Other Stories)

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,510 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
A Virago Modern Classic These stories - all powerful moral analyses - demonstrate the true professionalism of Edith Wharton.
Paperback, 244 pages
Published January 1st 1983 by Little Brown and Co. (UK) (first published 1934)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robin Cicchetti
I haven't read Edith Wharton since high school. I don't even remember what we read.

A colleague stopped by my desk at school last week, and said his wife put Roman Fever into his hands and told him to read it.

He was amazed:
1) that he had never heard of this jewel and,
2) at the cruelty of women.
He piqued my interest.

I checked our catalog and we had it, so I threw it into my bag. A few nights later I picked it up while I was waiting for the evening news to start. I never saw Brian Williams that nig
Jun 29, 2010 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this collection of what are considered some of Edith Wharton's finest short stories so much that I read it all over again, right after reading it the first time.

Some of the themes are familiar, such as people's sense of identity and social acceptance in upper-class society, but there is a large range of storylines, many of which deal with marital relationships and their various endings.
Wharton doesn't waste space on overly detailed descriptions of places or things; she zooms right int
Sep 13, 2010 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tatiana by: anyone who appreaciates classic literature
There is nothing much you can say about a classic. A classic is a classic for a reason. Edith Wharton is undeniably one of the best American writers and this book of short stories is another proof of it. It is a mark of a true talent to be able in a matter of 20-25 pages to reveal both deep nature of characters and expose society follies. Each story is a masterpiece which leaves you with a deeper understanding of suffocating restrictions of 19th century America and complexities of human nature. ...more
Nov 30, 2015 Sketchbook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A GR glitch and my review vanished. Xingu? So I'll reveal Xingu is a river in Brazil, not a philosophy, language, ritual or something best whispered about.
Jen Mech
I LOVE ROMAN FEVER! Though I can be impartial to short stories, when I read this for class, I fell in love with it. I think I connect with it most because I have a childhood friend who always seemed to have everything, every opportunity, everything handed to her, and she walked all over her friends, including me, taking every advantage that came her way. So, when I read this story, I couldn't help but laugh, thinking Mrs. Ansley had the perfect revenge. I have no interest in seeking my own venge ...more
Malvika Jolly
Oct 17, 2015 Malvika Jolly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Woo hoo! Roman Fever is a saucy, saucy story

I like all the knitting

who knew knitting could be so passionate?


One would think that performance artist/craftivist Casey Jenkins'
vaginal knitting project
would be the most passionate instance of knitting there is.

But one would be WRONG WRONG WRONG

The goings-on around Casey Jenkins' vulva are as
milquetoast as they come

but Roman Fever?

"Mrs. Ansley's hands lay inert across her needles. She looked straight out at
Sangeetha Bharath
Post-reading I find that that these lavish stories compensate for my gross inadequacy of words.
To put it simply, I am more or less speechless.
Bathed in Wharton's snobbish syrup of setting is the golden meat of these full-bodied stories broaching so many different topics.

Roman Fever is cut out to be the star of the show and rightly so, as its captivating portrayal of illegitimacy, envy, and realization is carried vividly throughout the piece. I personally think Roman Fever is remarkable becaus
After the blood and guts of Blood Meridian , I needed to add a little civilization back into my reading life - and nobody does over-civilization like Edith Wharton. Whether they meet the challenge by laughing, crying, or overdosing on exhaustion and sleeping pills, her characters are beset on all sides by the constrictions of unimaginative convention - a force with which McCarthy's cowboys are entirely untroubled.

I have a mixed history with Wharton; I found The House of Mirth overwrought, and w
Tamara J.
The lead into the story sets an uneasy tone of distance between the two women. The author begins the story by showing us the two mothers sitting on a terrace of a roman restaurant. The distance is well represented in the text by the careful word choice, for example, in the lead the women “looked first at each other, and then down on the out spread glories of Palatine and the Form.” This looking at each other then looking out at the scene before them is the sort of thing that strangers or acquain ...more
Dana Susan
Nov 19, 2014 Dana Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm disappointed, these stories don't resonate or stay with me. Did I not notice before that Wharton is a bit mean-spirited and cynical, and certainly about marriage? Her own was strange as I learned at The Mount last summer!
But thankfully after discussing the stories with my book club this week, I have a better handle on them and on Wharton's skill and intentions.
Sep 25, 2014 Realini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
Splendid story

This is an excellent and very poignant short story, by a great author that I had had the chance to read before.
Edith Wharton was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, for the Age of Innocence.
That was a great novel, dramatized by the wonderful Martin Scorsese, with the extremely talented Daniel Day-Lewis. Wynona Rider and Michele Pfeiffer were also in the movie, in leading roles.
Both The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth have be
Mar 25, 2010 Margaret rated it really liked it
This made me love Wharton all over again after a couple of disappointing novels. The standout here is "Xingu", which is a scathingly brilliant, utterly wonderful take-down of pretentious society matrons whose literary club is giving a luncheon for a famous author. I also especially liked "After Holbein", a rather creepy tale of two elderly socialites, and "The Angel at the Grave", about a woman who has devoted her whole life to the care of her dead grandfather's house, papers, and reputation.
Feb 13, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Roman Fever" is one of my most favorite short stories. I love the zing at the end.
Erin W
May 27, 2011 Erin W rated it really liked it
Everything about Edith Wharton's work is stately, like an antique fainting couch in a museum, its frame hand-carved, its fabric delicately embroidered. But somehow, the stories are not stifling. Some are sly and humorous, like "Roman Fever" and "Xingu," which both make fools of people who think they know more than they do.

What I really love about Wharton, though—and The Age of Innocence, arguably her most famous work, is a great example of this, too—is the way she lays out her characters' confli
Jun 23, 2014 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I remain not a big fan of short stories in general, Edith Wharton is always good. I've read at least a couple of these before (Roman Fever, After Holbein) but the rest were new. Xingu: HA HA HA HA. All the divorce stories: it's interesting how none of the divorced women were really judged as morally reprehensible, but instead as Not Respectable. Obviously acceptance into NYC/upper-class society was the big deal at the time, but it's still a striking contrast to all the fire & brimstone ...more
Steve Macias
Oct 21, 2015 Steve Macias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am indebted to Otto Scott and Rush for their frequent commentary on Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalists—which happen to be regular characters throughout this work in symbol and often by name. It is hardly a surprise that the misandrous and postmodern sexual identity issues discussed here are the consequences of their compromised, quasi-unitarian influence.
Mic Parker
Jun 02, 2015 Mic Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All these people are immersed in police society - usually to their detriment. What could be boring becomes morbidly fascinating because of Wharton's penchant for sympathetic characters.

Especially loved "Xingu" (hilarious) and "After Holbein" (NOT hilarious).
Sep 22, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She's very simply a good writer, from our late nineteenth century era, with a bent of modern psychology.
Alethea Bothwell
She really is master.
I don't know as I would call these stories satires, however.
Allison Long
Dec 07, 2013 Allison Long rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The description "It was amazing," perfectly encompasses how I feel about this collection of short stories by Edith Wharton. As always, Wharton writes in a way that undermines the societal constrictions of her class. She is observant, cutting and very funny. There is always a bit of sadness in each story. Nostalgia, melancholy, a feeling of being trapped- but Wharton doesn't preach. She shows by example the loneliness of a couple running away, the malice of a frenemy and the resignation and overa ...more
May 31, 2014 Keri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roman Fever was very interesting and quite a surprise twist at the end. I liked it.
Christina Gagliano
The title story is now in my top 5 all-time favorite short stories, joining Lamb to the Slaughter, The Swimmer, and pretty much anything by Dorothy Parker. I haven't read Edith Wharton in several years and had forgotten the true pleasure of reading her razor-sharp characterizations and being constantly amazed at her ability to choose just the right word, in just the right place, in each and every sentence she writes. I feel an Edith Wharton binge coming on (as well as another visit to her gorgeo ...more
May 05, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the first few stories for their snark. The latter stories lacked snark but were still lovely reads.
Jane Niehaus
Jan 31, 2008 Jane Niehaus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wharton knows how to get inside the follies and foibles of class, gender prescriptions, psychology. I got something out of every one of these short stories--and enjoyed the plot twists and endings. I can only imagine how her own divorce in this time period was fodder for these stories. I would really give it a 4.5--and at times you have to pay a little more attention to language, a paragraph to make sure you are picking it all up--but definitely worth reading.
Feb 07, 2012 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is so fun to revisit one of your authors! I am not a short story fan, but I will read anything written by Edith Wharton- love her writing style and syntax! A classic is a classic for a reason, and E W is a writer of unforgettable classics. These short stories are timeless! Loved the second in the series about a book club and their successful effort in befuddling an arrogant author visiting one of the club's meetings :)!
Jan 28, 2013 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wharton's prose is impeccable and quite typical of the time. It's always a joy for me to experience such command of the English language.

The 8 stories in the book cover various topics usually involving relationships, scandalous or otherwise, between men and women. All the stories had interesting and unforeseen (by me, at least)endings-- strange and often humorous twists.

Christina Dudley
My love of Wharton went head-to-head with my dislike of short stories, and the dislike won. I think it must be how, in short stories, something pivotal has to happen so fast that it feels artificial to me. At least, that's how "Roman Fever" felt. Great title and premise, but the bare-all conversation of the two middle-aged ladies felt forced, and the "twist" too contrived. I didn't try the other stories...
Nick Martin
This was likely a great introduction to a fabulous writer. A friend of mine is nearly finished reading Age of Innocence, and he has had nothing but praise for the book. I was somewhat overwhelmed by Wharton's verbosity, to the point where I felt the language was borderline prolix (thank you, Mr.s Ellis and Cave). But on the whole, I rather enjoyed the stories, and anticipate reading ... Innocence.
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Edith Newbold Jones was born into such wealth and privilege that her family inspired the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses." The youngest of three children, Edith spent her early years touring Europe with her parents and, upon the family's return to the United States, enjoyed a privileged childhood in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. Edith's creativity and talent soon became obvious: By the a ...more
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