House of Mirth

Critical reception

In the contemporary book review “New York Society Held up to Scorn in three New Books” (15 October 1905) The New York Times critic said that The House of Mirth is “a novel of remarkable power” and that “its varied elements are harmoniously blended, and [that] the discriminating reader who has completed the whole story in a protracted sitting, or two, must rise from it with the conviction that there are no parts of it which do not properly and essentially belong to the whole. Its descriptive passages have verity and charm, it has the saving grace of humor, its multitude of personages, as we have said, all have the semblance of life.”[6]

Publication of the novel prompted letters to the editor of the New York Times Saturday Review of Books, wherein the readers of The House of Mirth argued the merits of the story; enthusiasts said that the novel was a faithful and true portrait of the New York City gentry, whilst detractors said that the novel impugned the character of the city's social élite as a heartless, materialist leisure class.[7]


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.