Edith Wharton, arguably the most important American female novelist, stands at a particular historical crossroads between sentimental lady writer and modern professional author. Her ability to cope with this collision of Victorian and modern sensibilities makes her work especially interesting.Wharton also writes of American subjects at a time of great social and economic change-Darwinism, urbanization, capitalism, feminism, world war, and eugenics. She not only chronicles these changes in memorable detail, she sets them in perspective through her prodigious knowledge of history,philosophy, and religion. A Historical Guide to Edith Wharton provides scholarly and general readers with historical contexts that illuminate Wharton's life and writing in new, exciting ways. Essays in the volume expand our sense of Wharton as a novelist of manners and demonstrate her engagementwith issues of her day.