Roman Fever (and Other Stories)
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Roman Fever (and Other Stories)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,234 ratings  ·  63 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 January 1st 1934)
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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...more
Tatiana
Sep 13, 2010 Tatiana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Judy
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...more
Emily
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 wo...more
Tamara Collins
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
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
Margaret
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.
Rachel
"Roman Fever" is one of my most favorite short stories. I love the zing at the end.
Erin W
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...more
Eileen
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
Allison Long
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
Keri
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
Jane Niehaus
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.
Pat
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 :)!
Judith
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.
Laura
Feb 19, 2008 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of short stories, nineteenth-century American, writer's craft
Recommended to Laura by: professor
Shelves: american
I read Roman Fever for one of dear old Dr. N's classes, and I've listened to a few of her other short stories on the NPR Shorts podcast (great podcast, btw). Wharton's subtle, biting irony and penchant for weaving significant plot twists into the slightest details always gives me goosebumps. She's one of those authors one admires for how shes says things as much as for why she says them.
Marie-Frances
I had to read this book for my American Literature class. I didn't like at the beginning because it is written with really hard words. However, I HAD to read it in my class and eventually I like it a lot. It talks about problems in our society and how we care so much about others think.
It made me think about of a lot of stuff like: marriage, status, society and people in general.
Stephanie
I needed something to read that wasn't assigned but wasn't too enthralling. 'Roman Fever' and 'The Other Two' kick ass, and the rest of the stories so far are slow but enjoyable.

Edit: After reading the rest of the short stories, I've learned that enjoyable and slow are not incompatable, but actually complimentary. Now I have to read one of Wharton's novels. She's fantastic.
Hayley
I will be honest here. I have only read Roman Fever out of this collection (the rest in on my to-read list, I swear!!) but oh my goodness the ending was quite the awesome little ending. I was reading it in a classroom setting, and, let me tell you, we all thought it was pretty boring until those last words. So worth it.
Barrett
No one tells a story like Wharton... dark, ironic tales of disappointed love and social constraint. Roman Fever and Autres Temps are truly exceptional.

Remy
Wharton's writing is so sharp and modern seeming if you changed the setting and period details much of it would work today with it's brilliant psychological observations. I particularly loved the story Xochi. Like any book of stories I didn't love every one but many were terrific.
Ashley Blake
I love Edith Wharton and this collection of short stories is the first of her short stories I have read. It is interesting to try to read them in the context of the time in which she wrote them; it reveals how courageous and radical she was as a writer and as a woman. A great collection.
Mallory Rosenfeld
If you enjoy short stories that you can read from one sitting to the next, this is a great read. Most of the stories are easily interpreted and pleasant. Others are just decent. I enjoy her novels more so. But she still remains one of my favorite female authors of the 20th Century.
Sarah Battersby
The best stories in this collection (in my opinion, at any rate) were "Roman Fever" and "Xingu". Nobody is mistress of the epic burn like Edith Wharton. On the whole, an interesting collection of stories about the impact and changing attitude towards divorce in the early 1900s.
Dani
I enjoyed these stories. I have been really getting into short stories and how writers pack a lot into just a few pages. These stories did not didn't disappoint. Interesting views on marriage and divorce and I wonder if that resonates with the time that this book was written.
Christina
The title story, "Roman Fever," is of course the best and should be read by all. Many of the other stories are very good. A couple are not quite as interesting as the others, but there is nothing written by Edith Wharton that is not well crafted.
Teresa
Edith Wharton: F. Scott Fitzgerald before he could even pick up a pen. This is the book that introduced me to her, and you couldn't ask for a wittier, more beatifully written initiation into the delicate, insightful, evocative work of Edith Wharton.
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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
More about Edith Wharton...
The Age of Innocence The House of Mirth Ethan Frome Ethan Frome and Other Short Fiction The Custom of the Country

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