Hard Cover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1907. First Edition. Good.
First edition; special issue bound for the author lacking the illustrations. Presentation copy, inscribed by Wharton on front free endpaper: "To E. L. W. / from E. W. / [flourish] / October 1907." and additionally inscribed by author on front pastedown: "One of 12 copies bound / for author without illustrations / [flourish]"; below that is a former owner's signature of Harriet Johnson. Publisher's red cloth with gilt titles (binding B, no priority); as it lacks the illustrations, it also lacks the List of Illustrations leaf and the title page appears in six lines instead of seven, omitting "With Illustrations by Alonzo Kimball". A good copy, with corners and edges of spine worn and frayed, spine faded and with a light stain, some light spotting to cloth (mostly on lower cover), bottom edges and text block worn, both inner hinges cracked but holding, front hinge appears to have been fixed with a tiny bit of glue, interior generally clean. Garrison A14.I.a.I. Edith Wharton’s tremendous writing skills are on full display in this novel, as she weaves stunning psychological narratives into her skillful social portraiture. The Fruit of the Tree tells the story of John Amherst, the owner of a textile mill in New England, and his wife Bessy. Moral dilemmas abound, as John aims to better the labor conditions for his workers, and likewise care for his wife and young daughter. The most memorable plot twist concerns Justine Brent, a volunteer nurse at the local hospital who begins work as a live-in tutor with the Amhersts. The Fruit of the Tree is Wharton’s third novel, and was likely completed while she lived at The Mount, her estate in Lenox, Massachusetts which she designed herself.