Item #15173 THE FRUIT OF THE TREE. Edith Wharton.


[in 1907 dust jacket] With Illustrations by Alonzo Kimball. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907. 4 pp undated ads. Original red cloth, with dust jacket.

First Edition of this novel set against the background of American industry, published in the year the author left America for Europe.

This little-known novel... was considered controversial for its frank treatment of such issues as labor and industrial conditions, drug addiction, mercy killing, desire, and divorce and second marriages. John Amherst, an idealistic middle-manager in a New England textile mill, is committed to improving the deplorable working conditions of the laborers in his charge. But upper management, whose only concern is maximizing profits, frustrates his efforts. When Amherst eventually marries Bessy Westmore, the widow of the former mill owner, he is able at last to initiate an ambitious project of reform. But happiness for John and Bessy proves to be short-lived. It quickly becomes clear that Bessy does not understand and cannot share her husband's passion for fair labor conditions and industrial reform. She even resents the time he devotes to his work and the way in which his expenditures impact her extravagant lifestyle... [LC]

Having underestimated the demand for THE HOUSE OF MIRTH two years earlier (necessitating four printings in the first year), Scribner overestimated the demand for this title -- with just one big 1907 printing, and no more copies until 1913 (-- "cheap" ones published by Grosset & Dunlap by agreement).

This copy is in red cloth; some are in greyish-brown cloth with a spine label ("priority undetermined"). This volume is in fine, bright condition -- due to the presence of the original dust jacket. We say "original" because the "New Scribner Fiction" on the rear panel starts off with this book, followed by ten other titles all published no later than 1907. (We believe that Garrison erroneously illustrates a 1909 pictorial jacket for this book -- listing 1909 books as "Recent Fiction," and in fact noting that a Theodore Roosevelt story "will continue... during 1910.") This scarce 1907 jacket is unfortunately lacking about a quarter of its front panel, but is otherwise in very good condition. Garrison A14.I.a, binding B. Item #15173

Price: $875.00

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