Lily Bart knows that she must marry - her expensive tastes and mounting debts demand it - and at twenty-nine, she has every artful wile at her disposal to secure that end. But attached as she is to the social world of her wealthy suitors, something in her rebels against the insipid men whom circumstances compel her to charm. "Why must a girl pay so dearly for her least escape," Lily muses as she contemplates the prospect of being bored all afternoon by Percy Gryce, dull but undeniably rich, "on the bare chance that he might ultimately do her the honor of boring her for life?" Lily is distracted from her prey by the arrival of Lawrence Selden, handsome, quick-witted, and penniless. A runaway bestseller on publication in 1905, The House Of Mirth is a brilliant romantic novel of manners, the book that established Edith Wharton as one of America's greatest novelists.
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