Edith Newbold Wharton was an American novelist, short story writer, and interior design pioneer active during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This woman was a badass – she was the first woman to ever win the Pulitzer Prize in Literature, she was a world traveler, one of President Teddy Roosevelt’s BFFs, and on top of all that, is considered a war hero of WWI in France for the efforts and aid she offered to those in need. Raised in New York City, Edith was born into the upper class life, though unlike most of the women around her, she did not abide by the social standards of that day and age. Her writing career was limited until she saw herself married, though from that point forward her literary voice was one of the most influential of her day. While it did her no favors on a social level, Edith realistically depicted the lives of wealthy aristocrats in her work, focusing on materialism, moral code, and the decline of the Victorian Era. This exposure of their world was not received well, and Edith found that in certain circles she was blacklisted…not that she minded really. I have to admit I became oddly fascinated with Edith for so many reasons, but the one that really strikes me is her insistence on becoming a writer when everyone she knew discouraged her from education and intellect, including her parents. She had no second thoughts about pushing the conventions of her time, as well as challenging the norms during the age of tight collars. Are you ready for Edith? Fuck yes, let’s do this.
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