The life of a high society diarist laid bare

EDITH WHARTON, By Hermione Lee, Chatto & Windus, €36.75.

7th April, 2007

EDITH WHARTON, By Hermione Lee, Chatto & Windus, €36.75

If you think it is hard to keep up with the Joneses while living in a three-bed semi in Lucan, then trust me, it was far harder to keep up with the original Joneses (about whom the phrase was invented) back in New York in the mid-19th century.

Extraordinarily wealthy and extraordinarily snobbish, they were a family who, as Hermione Lee notes, were distinguished not...

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