The text has been introduced and thoroughly annotated by the editor for student readers. Backgrounds and Contexts includes selections from Edith Wharton's letters; articles from the period about etiquette, vocations for women, factory life, and Working Girls' Clubs; excerpts from the work of contemporary social thinkers including Thorstein Veblen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Olive Schreiner; and a consideration of anti-Semitism at the turn of the century by historian John Higham. Also included are Charles Dana Gibson's precautionary piece "Marrying for Money" (including four Gibson drawings) and a tableau vivant of "The Dying Gladiator." Criticism reprints six central contemporary reviews of the novel and six biographical and interpretive modern essays by Millicent Bell, Louis Auchincloss, Cynthia Griffin Wolff, R. W. B. Lewis, Elaine Showalter, and Elizabeth Ammons. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.