A Son at the Front (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
'The war went on; life went on; Paris went on.' In A Son at the Front, her only novel dealing with World War I, Edith Wharton offers a vivid portrait of American expatriate life in Paris, as well as a gripping portrayal of a complex modern family. The painter John Campton is divorced from the mother of his son, George, and although Julia's second husband, Anderson Brant, a wealthy banker, has been a devoted stepfather to George, Campton resents his presence in George's life. This family drama is ruptured by the outbreak of fighting, which requires George, born in France, to report for military service despite his parents' belief that he should be exempted. Reflecting Wharton's own experiences, A Son at the Front documents the shock of the outbreak of war, the early hope of a quick victory for the Allies, the terrible human cost of the war, and the relief when, belatedly, the United States enters the conflict. The novel's tone reflects the realities of life in Paris, and the profound disillusionment of the post-war period, standing as not only an important part of Wharton's oeuvre, but a landmark in the literature of the First World War.
Edith Wharton Julie Olin-Ammentorp is Professor of English at Le Moyne College (Syracuse, NY). She is the author of Edith Wharton, Willa Cather, and the Place of Culture (2019) and Edith Wharton's Writings from the Great War (2004), as well as of many articles and book chapters, including essays in The Bloomsbury Handbook to Edith Wharton (ed. Emily Orlando, 2022) and The New Edith Wharton Studies (ed. Jennifer Haytock and Laura Rattray, 2020). She is a past president of the Edith Wharton Society and serves on the editorial board of The Edith Wharton Review.