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Reading Groups

Edith Wharton’s Great New York Novels with Pam Newton

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Three Sessions Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST June 27 to August 22, 2023

The Center for Fiction

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 10% discount from our Bookstore.


Meeting Dates:
6/27, 7/25, 8/22
In Person at The Center for Fiction

In her early-twentieth-century novels, Edith Wharton (1862-1937) chronicled the fashionable world of upper-crust New York City society and, with her keen eye and sharp pen, exposed the striving, repression, and moral hypocrisy she saw in those around her. Her three greatest novels of manners, The House of Mirth (1905), The Custom of the Country (1913), and The Age of Innocence (1920) all map the downfall of someone who tries to break free of society’s bonds or to reach above their station. With The Age of Innocence, a story of thwarted love, Wharton became the first woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize. Her novels not only deliver us straight into the heart of New York’s Gilded Age but also continue to delight us with their wit, wisdom, and worldliness.

  • Session I: The House of Mirth
  • Session II: The Custom of the Country
  • Session III: The Age of Innocence

Before the first session, participants should read The House of Mirth.

What to expect from this reading group: This will be more of a conversation-driven group than a lecture, but the instructor will be on hand to provide context and guide the exploration of these novels.

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Led by

  • Pam Newton Maine Headshot - Pam Newton

    Pam Newton

    Pam Newton

    Pam Newton teaches writing courses in the English department at Yale University and is a freelance magazine writer. Her articles, mostly personal essays and art/culture journalism, have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Time Out New York, the Atlantic, the Huffington Post, American Theatre, the National Book Review, and elsewhere. She has taught writing and literature for many years to a wide range of students, including a decade teaching in the Humanities faculty at Cooper Union and directing the Writing Fellows program there. She has a BA in Drama from Northwestern University and an MA in English Literature from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.