The first new biography of America's foremost woman of letters in twenty years, No Gifts from Chance presents an Edith Wharton for our times. Far from the emotionally withdrawn and neurasthenic victim of earlier portraits, she is revealed here as an ambitious, disciplined, and self-determined woman who fashioned life to her own desires. Drawing on government records, legal and medical documents, and recently opened collections of Wharton's letters, Shari Benstock's biography offers new information on what have been called the key mysteries of her life: the question of her paternity, her troubled relations with her mother and older brothers, her marriage to manic-depressive Teddy Wharton, and her extramarital affair with Morton Fullerton.
Shari Benstock is Professor of English at the University of Miami (Florida).
Book I. The Old Order
Chapter 1. A Question of Heritage
Chapter 2. Explorations
Chapter 3. Endeavors
Book II. Choices
Chapter 4. Awakenings
Chapter 5. Estrangements
Chapter 6. Departures
Book III. Rewards
Chapter 7. Charity
Chapter 8. Profits
Chapter 9. Losses
Chapter 10. Loyalties
Archives and Abbreviations
Chronology of Works by Edith Wharton
Primary Works Cited: Abbreviations
A Note on Edith Wharton's Letters to Morton Fullerton
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