Glennard had never thought himself a hero; but he had been certain that he was incapable of baseness.
The story of a young man who scorns the love of a tortured novelist, only to have her words come back to haunt him from the dead, The Touchstone shows off the skills Wharton became famous for in novels such as Ethan Frome and House of Mirth, particularly her piercing and delicious talent for satiric observation. But despite its masterly control, this startlingly modern tale is also a simmering, rebel cri de coeur unleashed by a writer who was herself unappreciated in her own time. The combination of these attributes make this edgy novella a moving and suspenseful homage to the power of literature itself.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
About the Author
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones in 1862 in New York City, into a socially prominent family whose wealth came from real estate holdings. She was discouraged from an interest in writing by her mother, who forbid her reading contemporary literature. but in 1878, a family friend passed along some of her poems to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who championed them for publication. She went on to maintain an unusual degree of independence despite marrying Edward Wharton, whom she divorced 30 years later. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize (for her novel The Age of Innocence). Wharton died in France in 1937.
Praise for The Touchstone…
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
—Time Out London
"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer
"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
—The New Yorker
"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)
"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
—The Wall Street Journal