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Short Stories

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  233 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Described by literary critic Robert Morss Lovett as "a novelist of civilization, absorbed in the somewhat mechanical operations of civilization, absorbed in the somewhat mechanical operations of culture, preoccupied with the upper ('and inner') class," Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton (1862-1937) also wrote superbly crafted works of short fiction. The seven stor ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 21st 1994 by Dover Publications (first published 1911)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Edith Wharton has restored my faith in the short story as a form with this short, brilliant collection. In these seven stories we have laugh out loud humor as in the opening Expiation and the much lauded Xingu, we have stories of bittersweet relationships such as The Muse’s Tragedy and Souls Belated and several that focus or include discussion of the creative act of writing and being a writer. Most have a female character who is the central focus even if the narrator is male and these women run ...more
"Mrs. Manstey's View" - You are what you view... an Edith Wharton-era real estate story. (5 stars)

"Roman Fever" - What happened that night in Rome so long ago? The secret revealed. (4 stars)

"The Reckoning" - The high price of marital harmony. (4 stars)

"Xingu" - Wild goings-on at a ladies' book group. (4 stars)
Wharton has a way of convincing you that her characters are sill fluff, before circling deeper and deeper into their thoughts and motivations until you find yourself immersed in an entire person, actual and whole, nothing like the veneer you encountered before. These stories are at once hilarious and moving, and I expect these characters to stick with me for some time.
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Amusing social satire, but I like her ghost stories better.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
All of the stories in this book were beautifully written. But Wharton kept recycling the same sad themes of corrupted high society, divorce, and scandal. Also, her avant-garde feminism seemed rather confused and contradictory. The only story I actually enjoyed from this selection was Xingu. And even that left a bitter aftertaste. Maybe I would appreciate Edith Wharton more if I read one of her novels where her themes and characterization are fully fleshed out.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fabulous little diversion. I find I much prefer her longer works, her writing and characters shine in the longer format and the subject material can be a little grating in nibbles, but overall worthwhile.
This contains one of my favorite Wharton turns of phrase: "the mentally unemployed." ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Expiation and the Muse's tragedy were the ones I though were more interesting. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Edith Wharton was not one of those authors whose stories grabbed you on the first page.
She wrote with a type of eloquence and style that spoke of her upper-crust station in life.
I've noticed that a lot of readers give up on her after a short while. I would recommend hanging in there, she's well worth it.
This book has a nicely selected group of seven short stories, all of them strong.
I think my favorites were Xingu and The Other Two.
I believe that Xingu is the first true humorous story I've ever
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Souls Belated”

This story centers on Lydia, a woman who is leaving her husband for her lover but who finds herself torn between needing to be socially accepted (which means marrying her lover and potentially reproducing the same stifling situation she was fleeing from) and rejecting the conventional morality of New York's upper social circles. On the one hand, she detests marriage as a mere artificial form that people resort to to chain each other up out of fear; the rebellious side of her wishe
Phil Slattery
I listened to this while traveling from Little Rock, Arkansas to Gillett, Arkansas. These are fantastic stories! Incredibly entertaining and insightful into human nature and foibles. I will read/listen to more of her short stories at first opportunity. I had long heard of Edith Wharton, but never "read" any of her works until I happened to come across this collection in a bookstore in the River Market district of Little Rock. There are some excellent twists in these four stories. The writing is ...more
Helen Campbell
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had recently read the autobiography of Edith Wharton and what I learned enhanced my sublime enjoyment of these 7 short stories. I could see how her life and the people in it, the society in which she lived, and her observant and critical feelings toward them, were revealed in these tales. Her wit, irreverence to the opinions of her peers, and writing skills created these concise literary gems. If I had to choose one word to fit them, I would say "irony." ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Turns out Wharton is good at short stories too...All the stories had a great time and the typical Wharton cynicism and pathos, but "Xingu" really stood out as an unexpectedly hilarious and biting tale. ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nice collection of Wharton stories. It is definitely the "thrift" edition though.
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars for the first five stories
3 stars for the last two.

Edith Wharton was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who wrote stories and novels with one setting; upper crust people from New York or Boston, all of whom had maids, butlers, footmen, governesses, etc., literati who spent their time traveling abroad, speaking French, and discussing novels and investments. Oh yawn. Enough already. I grew pretty tired of the same characters. The stories read like a 19th century soap opera.
Wharton's writ
Sep 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am not a great fan of the short story. Just not my cup of tea. This is Wharton at her best comic side. Loved "Xingu". But all were well written as only she can do. I even had to look up some words, as we have changed the use in our current language. That is always interesting and challenging. LOVED IT, overall! ...more
David Cerruti
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories
I did not expect these stories to be my cup of tea, but was pleasantly surprised. Roman Fever was my favorite. The twist at the end was elegant. The other three stories poked fun at the upper-class twits of her day. They were reminiscent of stories by Saki, but not as concise.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This audio book was witty and fun, just perfect for two hours in the car. The stories, read by singular actors, seemed like little plays. The four pieces are: Mrs. Manstey's View, Roman Fever (my fave), The Reckoning, and Xingu. ...more
Dec 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I found a degree of variability in quality among these stories. While they all are well-written, some deal with the themes of social ostracism, feminism and relationships between the sexes better and more interestingly than others. My favorites are "The Pelican" and "Xingu". ...more
Oct 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There are so many wonderful quotations I could take from these pages. I find my notes and underlined paragraphs throughout the book. It was so enjoyable that I was disappointed that it wasn't longer. ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Not sure Wharton's art is best displayed in short-form, but a fairly enjoyable read regardless. Particularly enjoyed the more satirical stories - Xingu and Expiation - though the rest were by no means unpleasant. ...more
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
audio stories narrated by Alece.
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic
Fantastic character descriptions. Written in the early 1900's, they do not seem outdated and the situations are unique with a mix of humor and poignant tenderness. The vocab was very erudite. ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really loved the sharpness of many of these stories, though by the time I reached the end of the book the hopeless situations and love-going-nowhere was depressing. I'd recommend Xingu. ...more
G Léger
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Only four stories, but they are magnificent. Very well read. I love the twists.
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Sajani Kahandawala
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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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