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Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth captured the attention of a large portion of the reading public when it was published in a serial version in Scribner's for most of 1905 and then as a hardback in October of that year. Wharton's story of Lily Bart, a 'social parasite', according to reviewer Edmund Wilson, 'on the fringes of the very rich', topped the American bestseller list for four months. Furthermore, the novel sealed the author's reputation as one of the major English-language fiction writers of her generation. Each of the four articles collected in this New Essays volume, first published in 2001, makes distinctive claims for the historical, critical, and theoretical significance of Wharton's seminal work.