Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WHAT: The Decoration of Houses by Edith Wharton

One of America’s most important novelists, Edith Wharton was a refined, relentless chronicler of the Gilded Age and its social mores. Along with close friends Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jack London, she helped define literature at the turn of the 20th century, even as she wrote classic nonfiction on travel, decorating and her own life. Her best known works include The Age of Innocence (which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921), The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome. The Decoration of Houses, her first book, is of special interest to designers.

House Beautiful’s April 2011 issue highlights the history of American design, and makes special note of Wharton’s contributions to American interior design and decoration. “Edith Wharton laid down the rules for decorating in her first book,” the editors write. “The Decoration of Houses was the law of the land, and it led to the birth of a new profession.”

To purchase a copy of The Decoration of Houses, please visit bn.com.

Biographical info courtesy the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Age of Innocence. Image courtesy bn.com. Special thanks to House Beautiful for the inspiration!

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